Bruins GM Sweeney’s Patience Persists

( Above Photo Credit:  Sportsnet .ca )

By: Chis Nosek                             Follow Me On Twitter @cnosek6342 

Coming into this 2017-18 season, the Boston Bruins roster had a wide variety of questions and what fans thought were gaping holes. Some of the most significant issues included how GM Don Sweeney would fill the many gaps fans felt this team had left coming out of a disappointing 2016 campaign. Many fans were calling for Sweeney to trade the rights of restricted free agent, and mostly disappointing center, Ryan Spooner. Questions were being asked about starting goaltender Tuukka Rask, and many questions were being brought about the team’s depth at the wing positions.

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During the offseason, Sweeney showed patience and did not panic when looking to come to a deal with Spooner and his agent. He allowed the process to work and for the negotiations to go to arbitration. This brought Spooner and the Bruins to a very fair one-year contract for $2.825 million. This has proven to be the right move as Spooner has been filling in now on multiple occasions for a banged up David Krejci.

Sweeney’s patience in this instance would prove to prevail despite many fans questioning his ability to do the job. His patience would also prevail in filling the apparent open winger spots. With big names on the market at the time like; Patrick Marleau, Chris Kunitz, Thomas Vanek, and Justin Williams, it would’ve been very tempting to try to overspend and pair one or two of these guys with the likes of Krejci and Bergeron – especially knowing that Pastrnak and Marchand would be on the opposite wing.

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The unexpected play of the young guys like Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk, and Danton Heinen have not been the only reason this Bruins team has shown significant improvement from the 2016 season. Sweeney and Bruce Cassidy had to show extreme patience with starting goaltender Tuukka Rask as he started this season 5-11 with his back up going 7-4 and earning four-straight victories against teams like the Los Angelos Kings, San Jose Sharks, New Jersey Devils, and Pittsburg Penguins with two of his losses coming while earning a point by forcing overtime.

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Aside from not being able to move Rask because of a No Trade Clause, Sweeney made the correct decision in holding onto the 30-year-old Finnish goaltender despite many cries to move on from his remaining four-years of an eight-year deal carrying a cap hit of $7 million.  He is now playing like he did during his Venza winning season and has the Bruins on a major hot streak that is currently at 10-0-1 over the past 11 games.

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Don Sweeney has shown less panic and more patience than anyone could have asked for and now he has the Bruins unexpectedly in a second place position of the Atlantic Division and 4th place in the Eastern Conference. More importantly, for this team, than their place in the standings is the way they are playing and chemistry the youngsters are creating with their mix of veterans. With nine players up for new contracts at seasons end, Sweeney should show patience as he looks to have a rebuild that will allow for long-term playoff contention instead of just a couple years of a flash in the pan.

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