NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Middays with MFB on Monday to discuss the Bruins’ rebuilding strategy and the direction they will go after surprise moves prior to the NHL draft last week. To hear the full interview, visit the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
Amidst highly controversial moves, McGuire does not expect the Bruins to hold a fire sale and rid themselves of other veterans like Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask.
“I can’t see that happening,” McGuire said. “They’re a proud franchise. I can’t see that alienation of their fan base. They’ve been down this road before back in the [mid-1990s]. It was painful. … They’ve still got a very solid infrastructure of players. But again, they’re going to have to pass the torch here because some of their better guys are getting older.
“I can’t see them trading Patrice Bergeron. You put his name out there and every team in the league’s going to want him. … This is my one word of caution on this: I would be really careful pre-judging this thing if I were a Bruins fan, because I do think they have a plan. Doesn’t mean they have to share it with everybody only because you don’t want to show your cards too often in this league. In this league, they throw you anchors, not life jackets.”
According to McGuire, the recent moves made by the Bruins are part of a trend that began last offseason with the departure of Shawn Thornton and Jarome Iginla, among others.
“[My reaction was] that Don Sweeney wanted to put his stamp on the team early on along with Cam Neely that this was clearly something that was approved by ownership, that they felt that maybe something had gone a little bit astray in their building plan and they wanted to try to get it straightened out as soon as possible,” McGuire said. “I remember being in Boston last year when Johnny Boychuk got traded away … and I remember the reaction of the players and it was really negative. They were not happy at all.
“Shawn Thornton moves on to Florida, Jarome Iginla moves on to Colorado, Johnny Boychuk moves on to the New York Islanders and then you see what happens this year — Chiarelli gets fired, Gregory Campbell‘s not coming back, Danny Paille’s not coming back, Milan Lucic isn’t coming back and obviously Dougie Hamilton’s not coming back. Start doing the math. That’s a huge part of your infrastructure, so clearly they knew that they wanted to go in a younger, different direction and they’ve started that process.”
McGuire discussed the Bruins potential reasoning for not trying to build around the 22-year-old Hamilton and dealing him for draft picks.
“I say this with respect because I’m a huge fan of the player, but Zdeno Chara‘s not getting any younger, everybody saw that last year,” McGuire said. “Dennis Seidenberg is a friend, he’s not getting any younger. So yes, the importance of [Dougie] Hamilton is really apparent. All that being said, maybe the Bruins didn’t want their salary cap, and their internal salary cap by the way, to be changed because of a potential problem in the negotiation with Dougie Hamilton. So that’s potentially why he’s no longer there. Again, I don’t know, I haven’t talked to Don [Sweeney] about it. I know one thing: Calgary’s really happy to have him and they’re really happy he didn’t end up in Edmonton.”
With Hamilton and Lucic dealt, McGuire speculated on the future of the team’s veterans.
“Hopefully they’re going to groom this new brand of Boston Bruin players. If you’re a Bruins fan, player or coach that’s your hope. And these guys are worth their weight in gold in terms of leadership and understanding what it takes to play in the league. I say this because I’m such a big fan of certain players on that team — one of them is Patrice Bergeron, one of them is Brad Marchand, another one is Zdeno Chara, another one is Chris Kelly — so you ask yourself the question: How do they feel right now? And I can’t think they feel very good about it.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
On the Martin Jones acquisition: “I wouldn’t be dumping Martin Jones right now. Martin Jones has the chance to have a tremendous career. He’s a workhorse, he’s a guy that really cares about being a pro, he’s extremely focused on what he wants to do. My experience with him personally was at the World Juniors in 2009-10. He didn’t play a lot, but when he did play he was really solid for Canada. He had a really good career with the Calgary Hitmen [WHL], did some very good things in the American Hockey League with Manchester, but more than anything else, he understands the process of being an NHL player. I think the future’s extremely bright for him.”
On the Bruins first-round draft picks: “[Jakob] Zboril is a very good player in terms of defense. He can score some points, he can shut people down, he can play with a bit of an edge, he’s a kid that’s not going to be intimidated by physical play. There’s a huge upside to Zboril. [Jake] DeBrusk’s father played in the NHL for a little over 400 games. He was a real physical guy, tough guy. Jake DeBrusk is not like that at all, he’s more of a goal-scorer than he is anything else. For [Zachary] Senyshyn, he’s got tremendous speed, he’s got good hockey sense, he can make a lot of things happen because of his speed, but again he’s further down the road. I can’t see him being in the NHL before two or three years.”