Bruins Don Sweeney’s Trade History: Graded

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By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @lucaspearson_

With the trade deadline looming and all of the trade talk lately, I thought it would be interesting to look back at all of the trades Bruins GM Don Sweeney has made. There’s been a lot of hate towards Sweeney’s ability to make trades, some of it is warranted, some of it is not. Here’s my attempt at grading all of Don’s trades.

Side note: I won’t be going in depth with who the other teams drafted with the picks the B’s gave up because who knows if the Bruins would’ve drafted them. Also, I’ll only briefly go over who the Bruins drafted – I’ll go more in depth in another article soon, stay tuned.

Boston receives: 2016 6th round pick (Oskar Steen)

Colorado receives: UFA rights of Carl Soderberg

Grade: A

Nothing wrong with this trade. At the time, Soderberg was going to get a hefty raise, and the Bruins seemed unlikely to resign him with promising replacements in the system to fill out the 3C position in Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev. Soderberg ended up getting paid and signed a hefty 5 year, $23.750 contract with the Avalanche.

Boston receives: 2015 1st rounder (Zachary Senyshyn), 2015 2nd rounder (Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson), 2015 2nd rounder (Jeremy Lauzon)

Calgary receives: RFA rights of Dougie Hamilton

Grade: B-

There are a couple of things to take into account with this trade. One is the fact that Hamilton didn’t want to play in Boston, so the Bruins didn’t have a ton of leverage in the situation. The other is that Hamilton was a key piece in getting Noah Hanafin, who was someone the Bruins tried hard to move up in the 2015 draft for. With that being said, all of the pieces the Bruins have gotten have looked promising. Senyshyn is taking major strides in the AHL and looks to be NHL ready very soon. JFK and Lauzon have both already showcased their skills with Boston and look to have bright futures.

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Brian Babineau/Getty Images

Boston Receives: Martin Jones, Colin Miller, 2015 1st rounder (Jakub Zboril)

Los Angeles receives: Milan Lucic

Grade: A+

As much of a fan favorite Lucic was, it was time to let the big power-forward go. Entering the last year of his deal, the Bruins wanted to get younger and not pay him the insane amount Edmonton ended up giving him. Colin Miller put together a few good seasons in black and gold until he was taken by Vegas in the expansion draft. The pick they acquired was used on Zboril (could’ve drafted someone else but the value of that pick was still high) who still has the potential to be a top 4 D-man in the NHL. They then flipped Martin Jones for the package of…

Boston receives: Sean Kuraly, 2016 1st rounder (Trent Frederic)

San Jose receives: Martin Jones

Grade: B+

The toughest thing about this trade saw Jones help his team get to the Stanley Cup Finals his first year with the Sharks. However, Jones’ biggest role (if he stayed with the Bruins) would’ve been a really good backup. What the Bruins received for Jones was pretty consistent with what a lot of other fringe-starter/ starting goalies prices around the time. The Flames traded a 2nd and 3rd rounder for Brian Elliot, the Sabres gave up a 1st for Robin Lehner and a year after these trade, the Ducks traded Frederick Anderson for a 1st and a 2nd.

Boston receives: Zac Rinaldo

Philadelphia receives: 2017 3rd round pick (Kirill Ustimenko)

Grade: F

Yea, not sure what Sweeney was thinking here. The previous season Rinaldo had a grand total of one goal in 58 games. I understand that Sweeney wanted to bring back the “Big Bad Bruins” play style and a 3rd round pick isn’t a guarantee to be an NHL player, but you’d think they could’ve acquired him for a 7th rounder or something. Rinaldo went on to play 52 games and had a single goal before getting put on waivers and, unsurprisingly, wasn’t claimed.

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Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Boston receives: Jimmy Hayes

Florida receives: Reilly Smith, Marc Savard

Grade: D-

So unlike the trade above, there are some aspects of the trade the Bruins benefit in. Shedding Marc Savard’s salary was a big win, it allowed them to go out and get a big free agent (that free agent was Matt Beleskey, but it was the idea that we’re grading) Smith was receiving $3.425 million a year and Hayes just signed a deal paying him $2.3 million annually so again, cap space. The positives end there. After two very rough seasons with the Bruins, Hayes was bought out. Smith, on the other hand, averaged over 40 points in his two seasons in Florida and had a career year in Vegas, totaling 60 points in just 67 games. Not to mention being above a point-per-game in the Golden Knights Stanley Cup appearance. Now wouldn’t that just be a perfect fix to all of the top 6 problems the Bruins have…

Boston receives: Lee Stempniak

New Jersey receives: 2017 2nd rounder (Mario Ferarro), 2016 4th rounder (Evan Cormier)

Grade: C

Now Stempniak wasn’t bad for the Bruins by any means, he had 10 points in his 19 games to end the season with the B’s. It, unfortunately, was not enough to squeeze into the playoffs which is the biggest reason this trade isn’t any higher. The thing that makes me wince with this trade is that Stempniak was a PTO at the beginning of the year so essentially the Devils got two free picks. A little ironic that the New York native has been on PTO for the entire year for the Bruins now. Although it wasn’t a huge overpayment, it all just seemed a bit much for a guy like Stempniak.

Boston receives: John-Michael Liles

Carolina receives:2016 3rd round pick (Jack LaFontaine), 2017 5th round pick (Jack Dugan)

Grade: C+

Similar to the trade above, Liles played well down the stretch for Boston. The difference between the two is that Liles ended up having some longevity as a Bruin. He signed a one year, $2 M deal and helped the Bruins reach the playoffs and continued to help their injury stricken D-core in the playoffs against Ottawa.

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JASON KOPINSKI/ICON SPORTSWIRE

Boston receives: Drew Stafford

Winnipeg receives: 2018 5th rounder (Declan Chisholm)

Grade: B+

A really cheap option who was able to fill in anywhere in the lineup. It was the perfect opportunity to buy-low, coming off of a 20 goal season, Stafford was struggling prior to his move to Boston. He had four goals and eight points down the stretch and scored a couple big goals in that year’s playoffs.  Giving up a 5th rounder for that is a big win in my books.

Boston receives: Nick Holden

New York (Rangers) receive: Rob O’Gara, 2018 3rd rounder (Joey Keane)

Grade: C

The price wasn’t anything too crazy. O’Gara didn’t have a future in Boston with the plethora of D prospects coming up the pipeline. He and a 3rd isn’t a terrible price to pay for a 6th/7th D who came in and did exactly what he was supposed to do. Holden was solid and played a couple games in the playoffs. He went on to sign with Vegas in the off-season.

Boston receives: 2018 3rd round pick (Jakub Lauko)

Florida receives: Frank Vatrano

Grade: C

This one is tough to grade. At the time of the trade, Vatrano wasn’t even cracking the Bruins lineup. Rather than stunt his development in the AHL and ruin the trade value he had, the Bruins decided to get what they could for him. It ended up being the change of scenery the University of Massachusetts product needed. He’s excelled this year, already setting career highs for goals (16) and points (27). The good news is Lauko is progressing well and looks to be a future NHLer. You can’t really knock Sweeney for moving him, but it’s interesting to wonder if he would be playing just as good if he stayed in Boston this year.

(Jeffrey T. Barnes, The Associated Press)

Boston receives: Rick Nash

New York (Rangers) receive: Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey (50% retained), Ryan Lindgren, 2018 1st rounder (Jacob Bernard-Docker)

Grade:C-

Now, from what I’ve heard, the plan for Rick Nash wasn’t just a rental. His concussion at the end of last year really ruined his stint with the Bs. Maybe if he’s not concussed, he’s able to find more consistency in his game and with his linemates, and they end up making a better run in the playoffs, who knows. But since none of that actually happened and Nash ended up calling it a career due to his concussion history, this trade isn’t all too great.

The Bruins got rid of half of Beleskey’s cap which was nice but traded Spooner when he was arguably playing the best hockey of his career. Ryan Lindgren isn’t a huge loss due to the sheer amount of defensive prospects the Bruins have but still, the former 2nd rounder projects to be a solid top 4 D in the future. A 1st round pick is pretty standard for deadline deals, but you’d think that if Evander Kane, a similar player to Nash, was only dealt for a 1st, 4th and a depth prospect, maybe Sweeney could’ve managed his assets a little better

Boston receives: Tommy Wingels

Chicago receives: 2019 conditional 5th rounder 

Grade: C

A similar trade to the Stafford one, Wingels had a couple of really solid seasons in San Jose trailed off in production. Despite the dip in production, Wingels still brought a lot of physicality in the bottom 6 which is why the Bruins acquired him. He played pretty well when he was asked to step in.

Boston receives: Steven Kampfer, 2019 4th rounder, conditional 2019 7th rounder

New York (Rangers) receive: Adam Mcquaid

Grade: B+

I’ve seen a lot of people complain about this trade, but I honestly don’t know what the problem with it is. Mcquaid is no better than the other seven D on the roster, and even though Kampfer has only played in games due to injuries to the rest of the defense, he STILL has more games played than Mcquaid because of his injuries. Freeing up cap, getting a few picks and a serviceable replacement for an 8th D is a good deal in my books

So Sweeney has clearly made quite a few great trades that really benefit the Bruins. He’s also made quite a few shaky ones. Obviously, all the trades had different lasting effects and values, but if you were wondering, Sweeney’s average grade was in between a C+ and a B- which isn’t far off of what I would give him as a whole. I’ll be grading more of Sweeney’s moves as a GM so get ready for that.

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