Have we all calmed down yet?
This morning's Boston Bruins team is a very different one to the one that Don Sweeney started the draft with. Two of the franchise's most recognisable players are gone in Dougie Hamilton (which we wrote extensively on yesterday) and Milan Lucic, but it's more than just the trades themselves that make this a nightmare time - it's what Sweeney has done as a whole.
Let's look at the moves one by one.
The Hamilton Trade - We covered this in depth yesterday, but it bears repeating...this is a TERRIBLE move. Sweeney recently said Hamilton was a "foundation player" of this franchise. Which makes it very weird indeed that only a few weeks later, he's being sent to Calgary for a package that wasn't even the best the Bruins were offered, never mind a fair trade. Sweeney says the Bruins made a "significant" offer to Hamilton. He was asking for $5.5 million a year according to reports - so if Boston couldn't even bring themselves to pay that for the player who would no doubt have stepped into Zdeno Chara's shoes...that's inexcusable. Certainly it's not "significant" enough.
The Lucic Trade: Whilst the trade itself made some sort of sense (need to release salary, selling high on a forward coming off a down-year) the return is a curious one, not so much for the pick itself but for including goalie Martin Jones in the deal. The Bruins are currently experiencing something of a strong period in goalies, with Tuukka Rask the undisputed started and Malcolm Subban developing nicely. Jones seems in this case to be little more than a stop-gap measure, which isn't much-a stop-gap goalie and a pick for one of your top earners...though Bruins fans themselves seem to like it.
The McQuaid Deal;...And right here is where the Bruins take all the advantage they might have gained in the Lucic trade and chuck it back down the toilet. Using nearly half of your saved cap space on a defenceman who projects at best to be a number four, has none of the offensive upside of the likes of Hamilton and, if rumours are to be believed, is taking half the pay per year is a weird one. If you're trading Lucic for cap space, why wouldn't you use said cap space to sign your biggest asset? Why make the trades in the wrong order?
The Lucic trade was made around an hour after the Hamilton one. The simple fact is is that if Sweeney waits an hour, he has the cap space to resign Hamilton and all he loses as a result is a pick.
Ah yes. Those picks. Let's look at those.
#13 (trade from LA) - JAKUB ZBORIL (D) - As we said in our prospect profile, the Czech is a solid two-way defenceman who's good in all three zones. He's a safe solid pick if you still have Hamilton. However, in the context of this "new" Bruins team, he's a player who may need to be rushed into the team. He's solid but raw...with most scouts projecting him to go relatively low in the first round. Certainly, he's not one who would be "untakeable" with the Bruins' pick itself at the next pick.
#14 (Bruins pick) - JAKE DEBRUSK (LW) - Probably the best of the three picks, DeBrusk is a player who we liked a lot In fact, we called him one of the biggest sleepers in the draft.
The key word here, though, is "sleeper". DeBrusk is a player who was ranked in the late first round by most scouting services, and may well have been around early in the 2nd. He's a player who was taken in half the time he was expected to be, clearly as a long-term replacement for Lucic, or possibly Brad Marchand. While he's probably the player with the highest ceiling of the three picks taken, he's still a player who in isolation would have been considered a slight reach, or a player who the Bruins could have traded down for with value.
#15 (Flames pick-acquired in Hamilton trade) - ZACH SENYSHYN (F) - This is a head-scratcher. The Bruins use the Calgary pick, with Mat Barzal still sat there amongst others along with top defensive prospects like Jeremy Roy, Thomas Chabot and Oliver Kylington, to take a player that was ranked around 40 by scouts and whose closest NHL comparables are Danny Paille, Dave Clarkson and...er...Boyd Devereaux.
Worth trading Hamilton for? Worth even considering using a mid-first-round pick? That's not just a reach, that's clutching at straws and completely losing the plot - especially as they've just taken a better version in Jake DeBrusk.
The second day of the draft is better - Brandon Carlo could be a useful pick at 37, for example...but all in all this is a nightmare of a debut for Sweeney. The Bruins have got notably worse at a key position and left themselves with only one top 4 D and needing a replacement top line LW for the sake of an extra $3 million in cap-space.
That's mismanagement on an epic scale, and has effectively hamstrung Claude Julien massively. If you were cynical, it's almost like giving him the tools to get fired.
The Bruins have gone from Stanley Cup Final to potential bottom-half feeders in two years, and nothing Don Sweeney has done so far points to a quick turnaround. Indeed, if this is the style of management to come then B's fans should be worried.
The ship is drifting in Boston already, and management appear not to have their hand on the tiller.