Boston Bruins News: Don Sweeney Ready For Entry Draft.


When Boston Bruins President Cam Neely announced he was the new general manager, Don Sweeney was cognizant of the rugged and uncertain landscape that lies ahead for the team. As he prepares for an offensively plenteous draft, the GM also weighs his options on several key contracts. Sweeney’s most notable agent to sign is 22-year-old Dougie Hamilton.

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  • The restricted free agent’s future with the team has surfaced great debate over whether the novice GM will configure the cap and manage to secure the fledging defensemen in Boston. Sweeney’s desk is cluttered with side notes on various matters with the team. He’s had one month to map out negotiations with RFA’s, such as Hamilton, forwards Brett Connolly and Ryan Spooner, and unrestricted free agent defensemen Adam McQuaid.

    Contract negotiations will be put on hold for the time being, though, as the NHL Entry Draft kicks off this Friday (7 p.m. NHL Network U.S., TSN CAN). Sweeney will direct his attention to other important matters as the Bruins attain the No. 14th pick. It is the lowest first-round pick the team has had since they drafted 9th in 2011, picking no other than Hamilton.


    With 178 regular season games under his belt, the defensemen has reached the logistics stage of the NHL. He will experience a herd offer sheets come July 1st if the Bruins do not reach a deal by then, and the clock is ticking. The only silver lining from another team winning the Hamilton sweepstakes is draft pick compensation for Boston. For a team with mediocre drafting history under the Peter Chiarelli regime, picks would be deemed advantageous.

    Various mock drafts outline Boston picking a player of Kyle Connor’s caliber. The American-born left winger from Youngstown in the USHL is poised to fall right around Boston’s draft position. At 6’ 1”, the winger can work his way to the net. He totaled 32 goals this season with 42 assists. Yet developing stories from various media outlets suggest Sweeney and the Bruins may be picking quicker than planned.

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  • Sports Illustrated’s Allen Muir reported that Boston has a potential bid to land a coveted third pick from Arizona via trade. On Tuesday when the Bruins announced that prospect Zane McIntyre (goaltender from ND) was signed, trade rumors flourished. The 22-year-old became an instant commodity in the eyes of teams searching for young talent at the respected position. Arizona is in search of a legitimate No. 1 goaltender in its prospect system, and McIntyre, or possibly Malcolm Subban, could fill that void.

    For Sweeney, this move could start him on the right track with management in the organization. The ability to finalize a deal with Hamilton is important, but currently with their draft-mode on full steam, Sweeney’s most pivotal deal to make may just be with the Arizona Coyotes. This undeveloped deal could broach matters of parting ways with veteran skaters, such as Milan Lucic or Loui Eriksson. The idea of a brawny, experienced Lucic could sweeten the deal for Arizona with the addition of McIntyre or Subban. Most importantly, the trade-off would address Boston’s pressing cap woes.

    Lucic is set to make $6 million next season. Eriksson is slated for $4.25 million per Sweeney could potentially alleviate $10.25 million from the cap by capping a deal with Arizona for a No. 3 pick in the draft. That low of a pick would license the Bruins to draft the likes of Boston College’s star defensemen Noah Hanifin. Though the Bruins have stressed their preference of re-signing Hamilton, Hanifin’s addition could supplement for his departure to offer sheets from another team. If not Hanifin, Boston could entertain picking the next best player: Dylan Strome (Center, Erie).

    With the recent news of the league’s adjusted salary cap at $71.4 million starting next season, Don Sweeney and company know what is at stake. The Bruins have roughly $60 million invested in 15 players. They still want to resign several players aside from Hamilton. The defenseman is looking for a raise. The Bruins are looking for a good business deal. Sweeney will ultimately look to elude a bridge contract of a one or two year deal worth Zdeno Chara-like money. Sweeney will propose a long-term deal worth feasible money in hopes of avoiding the cap hit Montreal suffered when P.K. Subban later won the Norris Trophy and commanded a heavy cap hit of $9 million per year in an eight-year deal.

    Friday night’s draft may answer several questions surrounding the Bruins and their GM’s business skills. Ultimately, Hamilton’s future with the Bruins could hang in the balance of a potential draft-day trade for a sufficiently lower pick. If Hanifin lands in Boston, offer sheets for Dougie Hamilton will have fresh ink, ready for a signature.

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