By Maria of Watertown | Follow me on Twitter: @mariaofh2otown
The National Hockey League free agency period begins on October 9th at 12PM and much like the trade deadline date, this period of time gives hockey fans a little tingle down their spine with the hope and anticipation that their team will make a “big splash”. We would like nothing better than to have our teams throw caution to the wind and aggressively pursue the “hottest” free agent on the market. On the flip side, there always the possibility that a general manager will make a transaction that might have a long-lasting negative impact on your team’s roster.
As a longtime Boston Bruins fans, I’ve learned to temper my expectations so as to avoid the frustration (that’s putting it mildly) felt when general managers trade away players like Joe Thornton and Tyler Seguin only to get virtually nothing of value or significance in return.
To be fair, the Bruins have made a splash or two in the relatively recent past. After leaving the Bruins at the alter during the 2012-2013 trade deadline, Jarome Iginla signed a one-year deal as a free agent at the end of that season. This deal helped the Bruins make a run to the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals, but the Bruins were not able to retain Iginla due to salary cap constraints. In 2018, Don Sweeney made a trade that brought Rich Nash to the Bruins. Unfortunately, Nash’s tenure with the Bruins was short-lived as he sustained a concussion in March 2018 and he ultimately retired in January 2019.
I fully understand that there are risk/rewards and pros/cons to every deal that a general manager puts together. As exciting as it would be to always be in the hunt for the “shiny new toy,” it’s my opinion that a general manager’s primary responsibility is to construct a team that is competitive and has playoff pedigree in its DNA. For the most part, Don Sweeney has accomplished this throughout his tenure as general manager of the Bruins, all while working within the parameters of a tight salary cap. Here now comes the but…
If I could make one wish during this upcoming period of free agency, I would ask Don Sweeney to please put a stop to the never-ending game of “who will play with David Krejci” once and for all. Bruins fans have been clamoring to have this glaring hole filled since Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic shed their Black and Gold sweaters. If the organization is committed to keeping David Krejci on the roster heading into next season, then it is time to stop bridging the gap and plugging the hole with “just another guy” (a/k/a JAG). The Bruins desperately need help scoring 5 on 5 if they want to have sustained success in the playoffs.
The revolving door of wingers that David Krejci has been asked to play with needs to be slammed shut. If that means giving up pieces on the current roster, then so be it. At the risk of sounding greedy, could I also wish for a shut-down defenseman, too!