Don Sweeney’s Draft Plans for the Boston Bruins.


June is finally here and the 2015 NHL Entry Draft is just a few weeks away. The Boston Bruins are going to need to take a serious look at themselves and find the right players that can help the organization move forward. No one knows this more than the Bruins new general manager, Don Sweeney.

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  • Sweeney knows that his first draft will not only say a lot about him, but what kind of identity the Bruins organization will have moving forward.

    Will he follow the advice of former teammate and now Bruins President Cam Neely?  One could Neely’s hand behind the scenes trying to keep the semblance of the old Merlot Line in Boston last season. That Bruins fourth line went through a series of ups and (mostly) downs. There was little consistency and even less scoring, and it led the B’s to let Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille go in the off-season.

    Will there be the big crashing bodies we’ve come to expect from the Black and Gold, or will the team take the sobering lesson of a season locked out of the playoffs to heart?  How will Sweeney find the right balance, and will he be able to move some players to make it happen?

    When Sweeney addressed this issue last week he gave the Bruins fans hope for a faster and more skilled team going into the 2015-16 season. “There’s no one-size fit approach,” Sweeney said. “I think Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak are great examples of that. To be a successful team we’re going to have a blend of skill, size, speed, grit…All of the components it takes to win.

    “We have to be very aware of that. I use Ryan [Spooner] as an example because he has areas of his game that he has to continue to improve that I described as ‘hard skill’. I’ve had conversations with Pete [Chiarelli] and several players and comparing them to other players on other teams,” said Sweeney. “They’re very capable of doing the things, it’s convincing them that they have to go through these experiences and come out the other side, and continue to develop.”

    Ryan Spooner certainly went through the ringer last season. He brought offensive potential to the team, but was consistently harangued by Claude Julien for not playing his system. It led to Spooner spending most of the first half of the season in Providence.

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    “It’s not going to be a one-dimensional player,” offered Sweeney. The Bruins could certainly use another Patrice Bergeron type player moving forward, but it will be hard to find the total package in the draft, or in a trade that the Bruins can afford. “I love the accountability and structure of our group. Our forward group works extremely hard. At times I think it’s too hard for them to go back on offense because the offense is on them.”

    So, what is Sweeney’s hopes for next season? It looks as if he’s counting on the Julien system for defensive-minded hockey for now.

    “If we can create anxiety at the blue lines,” said the GM on his hopes for the B’s. “Create some turnovers and go back on offense, philosophically we can make it a little easier to find a way to score some goals and generate offensively at a higher degree. Players are willing to do that, but that doesn’t absolve them from the responsibilities of back pressure and understanding what it’s going to take defensively and blocking shots. It’s not going to be one stop shopping by any means, but it’s not plug and play either. We have to continue to identify the players that have the will to want to win, and that comes in all different shapes and sizes.”

    He may be able to find part of that puzzle in the first round draft pick. The rest may come with the B’s moving players during the draft to secure better and/or more picks. Expect to see at least one Bruin to be in a new jersey, and hopefully the Bruins will set the tone for the future by making smart and sensible choices this year.

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