For the Boston Bruins, missing the playoffs after being a contender for so long can mean one of two things. Either they realize that a top-five possession team from the year prior experienced an anomaly, or they overreact and blow the team up. With rookie GM Don Sweeney in charge, fans aren’t surprised to see the team blown up since he sees an opportunity to take the team in a new direction. But if that is the case, why would the Bruins make several moves that results in them having the most polarizing offseason the NHL has seen in a while?
Like the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011 (trading Jeff Carter and Mike Richards), the Bruins made the biggest splash before the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The day started with them trading away Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for a package of draft picks. Draft picks might seem enticing to some but trading away a 22-year-old stud defenseman for Zach Senyshyn, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Jeremy Lauzon is a terrible trade. None of these players are close to contributing in the NHL. It boggles the mind to see this team give up on so many promising young players like Joe Thornton, Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin and now Hamilton, and these trades are destroying the Boston Bruins.
Later, they turned a mediocre possession player in Milan Lucic into two first-round picks (after trading Martin Jones to the San Jose Sharks). I don’t know how a GM can make one terrible and one amazing trade in the span of an hour, but these trades set the tone for Sweeney’s reputation as a general manager. Coupled with the fact that someone was stupid enough to spend assets on Zac Rinaldo, fans are now appointing Boston as having one of the worst management groups in the NHL.
However, Sweeney’s offseason didn’t stop there. He managed to find salary relief by dumping the contract of Marc Savard on the Florida Panthers while replacing Reilly Smith with the inferior Jimmy Hayes. Afterwards, Sweeney signed overrated free agent Matt Beleskey to a reasonable contract. Now there are rumors that Cody Franson could sign in Boston to replace Hamilton. Every single one of the Bruins’ moves has had a massive positive accompanied by a massive negative and I’m astounded at how a GM can accomplish such a feat.
As for expectations, fans shouldn’t expect anything. This is a fresh Bruins team that is probably worse, but a team that is still capable of making the playoffs. Similar to the Sharks in 2014-15, we’ll have to see how the Bruins react to a crazy general manager that warps the culture of an organization.