Make no mistake about the fact that the Boston Bruins were one of most disappointing teams from this past National Hockey League season. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup Championship in 2011 and they were expected to follow suit in 2014 as they won the Presidents’ Trophy for the most points during the season. But in the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins were upset by the Montreal Canadiens in seven games and they have yet to recover. The Bruins were an up and down hockey team this past season. The Bruins would miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and that disappointment brought with it wholesale changes in Boston this off-season.
Peter Chiarelli was fired as the general manager of the Bruins and he would be replaced by Don Sweeney. And when the Bruins brought in Sweeney, there was a ton of speculation that longtime head coach Claude Julien would be dismissed as well. But the Bruins decided to maintain Julien and instead they made changes to their roster.
At the 2015 NHL Draft, Sweeney and the Bruins were wheeling and dealing. The Bruins traded left winger Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for goalie Martin Jones, defenseman Colin Miller and the 13th overall pick of the NHL Draft which Boston used on defenseman Jakub Zboril from the Czech Republic. The Bruins would also send defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames in exchange for the 15th, 45th, and 52nd overall selections in the draft. And once you factor in that the Bruins owned the 14th overall selection, they became the first team in NHL Draft history that had three consecutive first round picks. The Bruins would have six of the first 52 selections in the 2015 NHL Draft as they looked to get younger while Sweeney is looking to put a team together while also seeking to develop team chemistry which is something that Boston lacked all season long.
As a new general manager, Sweeney has come and he is not married to any of the veteran players on the Bruins roster which means that he is free and clear to do whatever he wants as he attempts to get Boston back into contention. But now it is just a matter of seeing whether or not that these moves that he has orchestrated will work.
The Bruins still have a core of veterans that includes defenseman Zdeno Chara who is the team’s captain, along with centers Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly, and David Krejci who are all alternate captains. And the Bruins still have goalie Tuukka Rask between the pipes who remains as one of the top netminders in the National Hockey League. But as the Bruins have gotten younger and are rebuilding, the pressure is still on this organization to contend for and ultimately win the Stanley Cup Title. Although Julien survived with the Bruins this off-season, the pressure will be on him this upcoming season to improve off of this past season’s disappointment. And no matter what, Sweeney will forever be linked to the transactions that he made recently as only time will tell if they’ll hurt or help the Bruins.