The Boston Bruins have been a team that the Buffalo Sabres and the entire Eastern Conference have feared for the last 5 years or so. However, this offseason for the Bruins feels like a repeat of the Sabres’ 2011 offseason, which has turned into a fiery disaster.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, under the supervision of team president Cam Neely, traded away top-two defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for a few draft picks, including the 15th overall pick.
This was a move roundly criticized by pretty much everyone. Hamilton was poised to take over for 38-year old, Zdeno Chara, on the blue line, and signed a pretty reasonable deal with Calgary shortly after the trade. It was a deal the Bruins probably could have afforded after trading Lucic.
Instead, they opted to give Adam McQuaid a new four-year contract to worth $2.75 million a year.
The Bruins also shipped out fan-favorite Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings for Martin Jones, prospect Colin Miller, and another first round pick.
This was all in an effort to try and trade up for the third overall pick with the Arizona Coyotes, where they would have had the chance to draft Massachusetts native, Noah Hanifin.
Sweeney did sign “top” free agent Matt Beleskey to a five-year deal, worth an annual average of $3.8 million. Which wouldn’t be bad if it weren’t for the fact Beleskey only tallied 32 points while spending a majority of the season playing with superstars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Those players don’t really exist on the Bruins. Previous to be elevated to top line duties, Beleskey never had more than 11 goals in a season.
Also of note, Sweeney traded young winger Reilly Smith for young power forward Jimmy Hayes from Florida. That is admittedly not a bad trade, but nothing to write home about, unless Hayes can also repeat a 20-goal performance.
Originally tweeted out by @bruins_stats, one of many new “#fancystats” accounts emerging in the hockey Twitter world, Sweeney came up with a fancy stat of his own and totally showed everyone.
Sweeney said it is as simple as: Hamilton+Lucic+Smith = 41 goals, Beleskey+Hayes = 41 goals.
While the numbers add up on paper, hockey generally isn’t played on paper.
Simply put though, Belesky is due to regress and Hayes is largely unproven. Refusing to even consider any of these simple facts, Sweeney and Neely have attempted to make their team “tougher to play against.
Basically, The Bruins have done what the Sabres tried to do four years ago. They signed the “biggest name” on the market to a questionable contract, added a “rugged” player like Hayes. This has been Boston’s Ville Leino moment.
The Bruins imploding has been one of the top highlights of the NHL offseason. While many people would say that it has been enjoyable to watch, the Bruins have yet to take the ice for the 2015-16 season. If the Bruins continue its decline, this could be one of the worst franchise-blunders the sports world has seen in a long time.