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Don Sweeney Leaves Poor Impression on Draft Day

In a matter of 24 hours, newly appointed General Manager Don Sweeney has revealed some of his methods of building the team he took over from former GM Peter Chiarelli. Looking to put his own seal on the team and start building, Sweeney struck two deals before tonight’s draft and it’s popped a certain lyric from a popular song by The Who into the minds of Bruins fans everywhere.

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

After dealing pending unrestricted free agent Carl Soderberg to the Colorado Avalanche for a 2016 6th-round pick, the move was met with a split crowd. Some didn’t like the deal, stating Soderberg still had lots of game left and deserved the contract he was asking for. Others felt he was gone either way and getting at least something was better than getting nothing at all. Sweeney wasn’t convinced on re-upping Soderberg’s tenure in Boston, so a swift move to acquire a pick for his rights was probably the correct way of going about it.

Soderberg would then sign a five-year deal worth $4.75 million AAV. An amount slightly less than the reported $5 million per season he was looking for in Boston.

Then reality sunk in. Just years after watching Chiarelli deal Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars in a trade that brought back not nearly enough, Sweeney pulled off a deal that sent the other first-round pick acquired from Toronto in the trade that sent winger Phil Kessel to Toronto. In a shocking move, number one defenseman Dougie Hamilton was sent to the Calgary Flames. While he was a restricted free agent and the Bruins were tight on the cap, it was believed that Sweeney would wheel and deal a few contracts to make room for his star defenseman.

Instead, Bruins fans got a rude awakening. The name in the front office changed, but nothing else did. Hamilton is now a Calgary Flame and the Bruins received the 15th, 45th and 52nd picks in this year’s entry draft as compensation.

Following that deal, if it wasn’t clear already that the Bruins are amidst a rebuild, powerforward and beloved Bruin Milan Lucic was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, in exchange for goaltender Martin Jones and the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft. The trade clears up space, leaves yet another hole to fill but also gives the Bruins three first-round picks this year, along with three more in the second-round.

Boston also announced the re-signing of defenseman Adam McQuaid to a four-year deal. While he’s had some health concerns in the past few seasons, McQuaid is an important piece to Boston’s blue-line and maybe more now than ever before.

With the 13th, 14th and 15th picks all lined up, experts speculated Sweeney’s intention to move up in the draft, possibly into the top-3 and make a deal with Arizona. After all, trading the likes of Lucic and Hamilton surely meant a plan was in store to bring in a highly-touted prospect along the likes of Mitch Marner, Dylan Strome or Noah Hanifin.

Instead, no deal was made and the Bruins became the first team in the modern day era to select three consecutive prospects in the first round.

Sweeney selected Jakub Zboril with their 13th selection, a defenseman playing for the Saint-John Sea Dogs. Putting up 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists) in 44 games, Zboril has decent size, can skate well and has a nice shot. Certainly a good pick to make at the 13th spot, and while it doesn’t completely make up for the emotional loss of Lucic, he’s still a nice looking prospect in their pipeline.

Then the wheels sort of came off. The Bruins took left winger Jake Debrusk with their 14th pick, projected by Last Word On Sports to go 32nd. His production nearly doubled in his second season with the Swift Current Broncos compared to last season, and his defensive game has improved, but there’s still some work to be done and it remains to be seen if he can continue his two-way approach to the game. He does have the bloodlines but a player projected to go late-first or early-second being taken at 15th is a reach.

But not as much of a reach as their 16th pick. Zachary Senyshyn, projected to go anywhere between the late-second and early-third, was taken with the Bruins last selection in the first round, catching the hockey world completely off guard. Considering the Bruins could have likely had him with one of their three second-round choices, reaching for him in the mid-first was as far a stretch as you could imagine. He is a very good skater and has great offensive instinct, but a prospect of his caliber will take a while to develop and there’s a good chance he may never project into a top-6 player.


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