Boston Bruins: Things To Look Forward To In 2016

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Possibly Returning To The Playoffs

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins missed the playoffs following the 2014-15 season, something that hadn’t happened in eight years. With the disappointing end to the season came change, and with change, came a new hope.

The Boston Bruins started their offseason changes early, with then-general manager Peter Chiarelli being relieved of his duties. Don Sweeney stepped in, and the transactions that followed were numerous, and in many cases, painful to watch.

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The Boston Bruins traded away the rights to center Carl Soderberg, a player they were expected to lose in the offseason due to his expected raise in salary. Additionally, the team traded away their young, and promising defenseman in Dougie Hamilton when contract negotiations went sour. It wasn’t the first time that Bruins’ management made a trade involving a young and potential cornerstone franchise piece, and it may not even be the last. Following that trade, the Bruins moved long-time fan-favorite, and eight year veteran, Milan Lucic. The team also traded away Reilly Smith, one of the three remaining pieces on the Bruins that came as a part of the trade that sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas.

These subtractions were hard to swallow for many Bruins’ fans who immediately began criticizing the judgement of Don Sweeney. The return that Don Sweeney received as a part of those transactions, however, proved to be decent, and effective at this point in the season.

In return for Dougie Hamilton, the Bruins clearly didn’t get the return that fans of the team wanted. It’s fair to be upset about the return, but it’s also important to keep an open mind, especially when considering the fact that the Bruins selected three very talented players in Zachary Senyshyn, 15th overall, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, 45th overall, and Jeremy Lauzon, 52nd overall, with the draft picks they received for Hamilton.

Time was running out for the Boston Bruins, and in a perfect world, they would have traded Hamilton for more than what they did, but in a few years, the trade could look like a steal based on how each of their three prospects pan-out.

As for the Milan Lucic trade, and a subsequent trade of Martin Jones, the Bruins gathered: The 13th overall draft pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, which ended up being highly-touted defensive prospect, Jakub Zboril. San Jose’s first round draft pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, as well as forward prospect Sean Kuraly, and Colin Miller. For those keeping score, that’s two first round draft picks, a top defensive prospect in Colin Miller, as well as a college forward prospect in Sean Kuraly, for an expiring contract of a player that had been regressing in a Bruins’ uniform for some time.

Don Sweeney wasn’t finished there, as he traded away talented, but inconsistent forward Reilly Smith as well as the contract of Marc Savard for Massachusetts-native Jimmy Hayes. He made a questionable trade when he sent a third round draft pick to Philadelphia for questionable forward Zac Rinaldo, and he completed his changes when he signed left winger Matt Beleskey to a five year contract.

The changes have positioned the Boston Bruins into a top-three spot in the Atlantic Division, and the potential to move into first place is getting closer with each game that the Bruins play.

Next: Cap Space Opening Up