SUNRISE, Fla. — The Bruins’ brass arrived in Florida with a team that was a few tweaks away from contending again. They leave it with a better chance at getting 2016 top prospect Auston Matthews than the Stanley Cup.
What’s done is done, however, and Bruins fans have no choice but to proceed hoping the front office knows what its doing.
(For reaction to Friday’s moves, click here, here and here.)
Here are 10 thoughts with the draft in the books:
– The fact that the Bruins used 10 of the 11 picks that they had after Friday’s trades means they either see this team’s return to glory as a long term project or that their plans to turn those picks into something else failed. It might be more the latter than the former. The B’s insist they were aggressive in their efforts to get into the top 10 to take Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov or Zach Werenski.
– If there’s an “other shoe to drop” in order for the Bruins to ice a Cup-contending roster next season, you’d have to figure it will be extremely difficult to execute now. It’s abundantly clear that the Bruins need to make moves save the immediate future, so trade partners will be wise to up their prices just like they did when Peter Chiarelli’s job was on the line.
– Speaking of Chiarelli, the moves that the B’s made might have been avoided if Neely fired Chiarelli during the season and sold off parts then. Carl Soderberg could have fetched the B’s a first-round pick at the trade deadline, which the Bruins hypothetically could have used to get into the top 10. At the very least, it would have allowed the Bruins to seek young players for someone like Hamilton than just taking picks.
Of course, the performance of Boston’s front office on Friday might leave some Bruins fans regretting ever wanting the B’s to can Chiarelli.
– The Bruins have expressed mild interest in Ducks winger Matt Beleskey, who will become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday. Beleskey is 27 and had the first solid year of his career by hitting the 20-goal mark for the first time. He will be paid well given how weak this free agent class is. The guess here is he isn’t a fit with the B’s.
– With Sweeney now serving as general manager, Jay Pandolfo will run the Bruins’ development camp. Sweeney first organized the now annual prospects camp in July of 2007. The B’s hired Pandolfo as a development coach last August.
– With Milan Lucic gone, Brad Marchand is the only impact player at left wing guaranteed to be in Boston going forward. He’ll be joined by Loui Eriksson if Boston keeps the veteran left-shot right wing and flips him to the other side, but Eriksson is an obvious choice to be dealt now. The 29-year-old will be a free agent after the coming season and the Bruins are not a contender as currently constituted. The Bruins are officially at the ‘trade the good players’ stage, and they should be willing to listen on anybody.
(Say this for the Bruins: At least they’ve got some prospects at wing now, and they need it. The NHL roster remains overflowing with right wings, but the Jake DeBrusk pick could give the Bruins the first left wing they’ve developed since 2006 draftees Lucic and Marchand. As for perceived first-round reach Zachary Senyshyn, assistant general manager Scott Bradley said the skilled right wing was ranked low by evaluators because he played on the fourth line of a loaded OHL team in Sault Ste. Marie.)
– With the Bruins now hard-pressed for NHL defensemen, they should actually keep Dennis Seidenberg and take him into the season. He will almost certainly better than he was last year coming off knee surgery, so the veteran blueliner could re-establish his trade value and be a sellable piece at the trade deadline. Seidenberg turns 34 on July 18 and is entering the second year of a four-year deal worth $4 million annually.
– On the subject of defense, you’ve got to wonder what this all means for Kevan Miller. The 27-year-old carries a light cap hit of $800,000, but he is now part of a large group of players fighting for a spot on the bottom of Boston’s roster. The right-shot Miller figured to be an obvious replacement for Adam McQuaid before the B’s re-upped the veteran bottom-pairing defenseman for four years in a head-scratching move.
– Perhaps the most interesting addition to the Bruins over the weekend is goaltender Martin Jones, whom the Bruins received in the Lucic trade. Jones is a 25-year-old goaltender who might feel his days as a backup should be over after two years of playing behind Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles. Former NHL goaltender Patrick Lalime says he’s legit.
The 6-foot-4, 187-pound goalie is unsigned and will become a restricted free agent on Wednesday. He joins a very deep group of goalies in Boston’s organization with Tuukka Rask, Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre.
If he’s willing, Jones would make a splendid backup with the Bruins, who lost faith in a budget option in Niklas Svedberg last season. Time will tell if he’s willing to do that.
– After the trades of Hamilton and Lucic (including $2.75 million retained on Lucic) and the signing of McQuaid, the Bruins leave the draft with $55,791,667 committed to 16 players (not counting Marc Savard) with Brett Connolly and Ryan Spooner unsigned and plenty of cheap young players (Joe Morrow among them) also figuring to make the NHL roster. The salary cap’s upper limit it $71.4 million.