I made my feelings clear in my June 1st blog regarding the direction of the Bruins and the hiring of Don Sweeney. However, in my wildest dreams I couldn’t have anticipated the complete bungling of the organization after the two trades were made this week and the approach to the NHL draft.
As for the Milan Lucic trade, aside from being forced to retain half his salary, the return seems decent. The real problem however is that the hang up on Lucic has always been his inconsistent play and lack of consistent passion. If there was ever a year you would see consistency out of Lucic it would have been his free agent year. They acquired a solid defensive prospect, a first round pick and goalie Martin Jones from the Kings. Jones has a big upside and in his short time in the NHL has been impressive. So along with Malcolm Subban, recently signed prospect Zane McIntrye and now Jones, one has to think that Tuukka Rask’s big contract will be the next to go.
The Dougie Hamilton trade was nothing short of an abomination. A reliable source reported that the Bruins got superior offers from both Arizona and Edmonton and executives throughout the entire NHL were miffed that the Bruins took such a poor return on a building block asset who is on the verge of becoming an elite defenseman.
Both Don Sweeney and Cam Neely recently stated that they would match whatever deal that was offered to the restricted free agent. If the Bruins had opted to not match an offer to Hamilton, based on the projected salary he would sign at (6-7 million annually), they would have received a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round pick.
The Bruins improved on that by getting a 1st round pick and two 2nd round picks, but they failed in doing due diligence by maximizing the best offer possible. They could have signed him and then traded him so they had more leverage or they could have waited to see what additional offers transpired once they made it known they were ready to move him. But the Bruins panicked and fans now know what it is like to have their team mismanaged akin to a cellar dwelling team.
And then to add insult to injury, the Bruins thought by having the 13th, 14th and 15th pick, they would be able to trade up into the top 10 and get a prospective elite defenseman but no dice. Another miscalculation by the Bruins who apparently think Danny Ainge’s approach to hording first round picks will actually work.
This feels like déjà vu when the Bruins traded Joe Thornton. Wayne Primeau, Marco Sturm and Brad Stuart were the return for the franchise player. Just like with Hamilton, the entire league couldn’t believe the Bruins took such a poor return and didn’t reach out to more teams for competitive offers. Same situation but a different GM.
Incidentally, for a team that has done such a poor job drafting and developing players over the last seven or eight years, it is interesting to now see them put all their eggs in the basket of the NHL draft.
Boston needed to rebuild. Bruins fans were kidding themselves thinking that the roster that finished the 2014-15 season was even close to competing for a Stanley Cup. It wasn’t! But trading your top young player; a puck moving 22 year-old defenseman that should be a cornerstone of your franchise and trading that player at a significantly discounted value without adequately testing the market will be an epic gaffe that will haunt them for years to come. Feels like karma for the Cam Neely-Barry Pederson trade.
David Krejci must have insomnia trying to figure out who his line mates will be this year? The Bruins aren’t smarter than everyone else. Peter Chiarelli, Neely and Sweeney were allowed to put them in salary cap hell and now they are overcompensating and appear to be comfortable with a small market model. Where is Harry Sinden when you need him?