Hits and Misses: Grading All of Don Sweeney’s Boston Bruins Trades (Part One)

( Photo Credit: Bill Sikes / AP )

By: Ray Guarino | Follow me on Twitter @rayguarino

On April 15, 2015, the Boston Bruins fired General Manager Peter Chiarelli. The Bruins compiled an impressive 386-233-85 record during his tenure. They also won their first Stanley Cup in 39 years when they beat the Vancouver Canucks in a thrilling seven-game series in 2010-11. But the NHL is a “what have you done for me lately” league, and Chiarelli was dismissed after failing to make the playoffs in 2014-15. It was only the third time in history that a defending Presidents’ Trophy-winning team failed to make the playoffs.

Enter Don Sweeney. Sweeney was promoted to General Manager by the Bruins on May 20, 2015. Sweeney, a product of Harvard University, was drafted by the Bruins in 1984 and played defense for 15 of his 16 NHL seasons. After a brief career in broadcasting, he rejoined the Bruins in 2006 as the team’s Director of Player Development. He quickly rose through the ranks within the organization, eventually becoming the eighth GM in team history.

Below we’ll look at each trade, chronologically, that he made as GM and give it a letter grade. When draft picks are involved, there’s no consideration for the player that was drafted with that pick.

June 25, 2015 Bruins trade Carl Soderberg to Colorado for a 6th round pick (#165).

( Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports )

Soderberg, playfully known as “the one-eyed Swede” because he was legally blind in his left eye,  was a pending unrestricted free agent, so getting something for him was a win. He had a decent two seasons with the Bruins. In 159 games, he put up 29-63-92 playing a bottom 6 role. Grade B

June 26, 2015, Bruins trade Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for:

2015 1st round pick(#15), 2015 2nd round pick(#45), 2015 2nd round pick(WSH #52).

( Photo Credit: Jana Chytilova / Freestyle Photography / Getty Images )

Hamilton was the Bruins 1st round pick, number 9 overall, in the 2011 draft. In Hamilton’s last season with the Bruins, he compiled an impressive 10-32-42 line as a 22-year-old. He was already a top 4 defenseman with top pair potential. There were also a lot of rumors flying around that Hamilton didn’t want to play for the Bruins, or that he would force a trade by holding out, and lastly, that he would get an offer sheet from another NHL team, like Edmonton, who had just named old friend Peter Chiarelli as GM. Much like the Jacob Trouba situation in Winnipeg that went on for years, the Bruins had all the leverage. This was a bad trade for the Bruins. Trading a 22-year-old top 4 defenseman and not getting a young NHL ready player as part of the package in return was a big miss. Grade D-

June 26, 2015, The Bruins trade Milan Lucic to the LA Kings for:

Martin Jones, Colin Miller, 2015 1st round pick(#13). The Bruins retained $2.75M of Lucic’s salary.

( Photo Credit: Winslow Townson / AP )

This trade tugged at the heartstrings of Bruins fans. Lucic, a long-time fan favorite, saw his game slip, along with his production, as he got older and the game got faster. He was making $6M/year and had one year remaining on his contract. It was unlikely that they would re-sign him and were looking at losing him for nothing when he became an unrestricted free agent. In return for Lucic, the Bruins got statistically one of the better back-up goalies in the league in Jones. He had back to back seasons with a GAA of 1.81 and 2.27 and Sv% of 0.934 and 0.906.

Jones was knocking on the door of becoming a starting goalie for an NHL team. In Colin Miller, the Bruins got a defenseman that combined speed with power but still needed more development. In his last season with the Manchester Monarchs, the LA Kings top minor league affiliate, he had an impressive 19-33-52 line with 82 PIM while playing top pair minutes. Add in the 13th overall pick in the draft, and this trade is a big win for the Bruins. Grade: A

June 27, 2015, The Bruins trade a 2015 5th round pick(#135) for a 2016 5th round pick(#136)

Sweeney caps a busy 2015 draft with 10 draft picks and 3 trades. Not much to this trade. Added to the 2016 draft capital. Grade: C

Stay tuned for Part 2…

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