By Maria from Watertown | Follow me on Twitter @mariaofh2otown
With the NHL draft and free agency getting underway and rumors percolating about potential deals involving our Boston Bruins, it prompted me to start thinking about how difficult the job of a general manager job has to be, particularly during this time of a season. The right or wrong decisions can impact a franchise, for better or worse, for an indefinite period of time.
Along with putting together a team and coaching staff that is not only championship caliber, a general manager is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the dynamics of assembled players and coaches are such that the group develops a sense of commitment to one another all for a common goal – to win a championship. A general manager also needs to develop an honest and trust-worthy relationship with players and coaching staff. All this needs to be managed and balanced within a budget that is either mandated by an owner, the league and/or both.
Frankly, a general manager’s job should not be an easy one. Planning for the upcoming season will likely be Don Sweeney’s toughest and most stressful test to date. Previous contract negotiations involving Sweeney and some key players on the current Bruins roster have gone relatively smoothly, especially as it pertains to Brad Marchand and David Pastrňák. Both players worked with management to come to contract terms that now appear to be bargains, especially in light of each player’s contributions to the recent successes of the Bruins.
For what seems like the first time in his tenure as Bruins General Manager, Don Sweeney is faced with the challenge of trying to retain a player who many refer to as an invaluable member of the Bruins roster – that would be impending free agent Torey Krug.
Professional athletes are generally not in the business of making things easy on a team, particularly when it may be the last “big” contract they garner before careers comes to a close. Free agents earn the right to go out and shop themselves around to the highest bidder. While money should not be the only factor, it is clearly a significant factor, and who are we to begrudge an athlete that opportunity.
As fans, we develop loyalties to certain players and sometimes feel a bit betrayed when they don’t pick us. If the Bruins lose a player of Torey Krug’s caliber to a higher bidder, it may be the catalyst that provides Don Sweeney with the financial resources and flexibility to make improvements to the Bruins roster that is, in my humble opinion, long overdue.