BOSTON (CBS) — Baffling! That’s how I feel after the carnage the Boston Bruins created on Friday and Saturday.
In advance of the NHL draft, new general manager Don Sweeney first traded away rising-star defenseman — and restricted free agent — 22-year-old Doug Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for their three draft picks, including No. 15 later that night. A little while later, they sent veteran winger/tough guy Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings for their backup goaltender and a defenseman.
According to The Boston Herald on Thursday, team president Cam Neely said, “There’s a lot of things that Don has been working on to not only put us in a position to improve on last year, but also for the future.”
I wonder exactly what Neely thinks of how Sweeney did after the weekend.
From where I sit right now, the future of this hockey teams is looking like a remake of the mid 2000s, when going into the building night after night was like sticking needles under my fingernails. It’s beginning to look a lot like 2006.
The Bruins had six of the first 52 picks and 10 in all. But we know how good a lot of the Bruins drafts have been, resulting in potential and then failure. Two of the three players picked by the Bruins in the first round were ranked much lower than where Boston selected them. We’ve seen this movie before and all too often.
It’s not surprising that Lucic was moved. The Bruins have been dissatisfied with Milan for a couple of years now and with his $6 million salary this year and unrestricted free agent status after this season, trading him seemed the right thing to do.
What is puzzling about both players being relocated is the return to the Boston team. Especially on Hamilton. Getting back a first rounder and two second-round picks is just not enough. For Lucic, yes they needed a backup goaltender, especially after last season’s failures of Niklas Svedberg and the St. Louis disaster for Malcolm Subban. But you could expect a little more in return for Lucic. Alas, there was no more to be gotten.
I think Sweeney was playing the odds and gathering draft picks and hoping to package those picks and maybe something else and get into the top 10 of the draft. If that was his thinking, he failed miserably.
Now, with this slow start out of the gate by the new Boston Bruins administration, what are the fans — who, by the way, are furious — to expect the rest of the offseason and beyond? The Bruins won the championship four years ago and were close to winning another two years later. Right now, they are as far away from those teams as they were back in 2006 — a place no Bruins fan wants to go.
Ric Duarte has covered hockey and the Bruins for various media outlets since 1986. You can follow Ric on Twitter @bruins_diehard.