( Above Photo Credit:   nhl .com )

By Mark Allred                           Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

When the Bruins ended their postseason run for the first time in two years against Ottawa, General Manager mentioned in the team’s exit meetings or locker cleanout day that the organization would like to explore options on the idea of adding another assistant coach to the mix. Well, today they made it happen with the addition of Kevin Dean.


Dean is a solid coach and did very well in his first season as a bench boss with the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins. After a 43-23-6-4 regular season and a Calder Cup Playoff run that got them to the third round, this is an excellent idea as a wave of developmental talent knocks on the door of potential roster spots in the next few seasons.  Obviously, the hiring of now NHL B’s coach Bruce Cassidy is a clear indication the team is going to get younger and another set of eye’s and voice as an assistant coach may have never come at a better time. Both Dean and Cassidy have been in this scenario before when they spent the 2011-12 to 2015-16 seasons behind the AHL bench and racked up a 207-128-21-24 record in 380 games.



With the upward movement of the coaching staff, Providence Journal Bruins Beat Writer Mark Divver mentioned Trent Whitfield and Jay Leach are likely to fill the gaps as they’ve been with the team for the 2016-17 year. Leach has been with the B’s for one season after an assistant job with the Pittsburgh Penguins affiliate the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Whitfield, a former Assistant Coach in the AHL with the former Portland Pirates, joined the Baby B’s from the Western Hockey League with the Calgary Hitmen. Both Leach and Whitfield have spent time as players for the Bruins organization.

To me this looks like an R&D project taking shape and why not set the tone of something useful in building a core of educators to grasp the minds and creativity of the individual players who are about to spend many years in the National Hockey League. This is a positive step forward, and it looks like the B’s are setting the building blocks for many years of competitive hockey and possibly a yearly threat like they were for several seasons before missing the playoffs for two straight seasons.

This may be the biggest offseason of Sweeney’s career so far as he and scouts construct a roster to not only make the playoffs for the second straight year but possibly make a run in the late rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The offseason believe it or not is one of my favorite times of the year. Yes, the no hockey to watch does suck during the long dog day time off but looking at the direction this organization is going and dissecting certain decisions will also be intriguing.