By: Gayle Troiani | Follow me on Twitter @LadyBruinsFan
Last week Bruins fans rejoiced in the news that Captian Patrice Bergeron was reportedly returning to the black and gold for at least one more season. However, we’re still waiting for the official comment from the club.
Last night, the fans were informed by Worcester Telegram and Gazette sports writer Joe McDonald that General Manager Don Sweeney had finalized his contract extension.
Sweeney has a shaky relationship with the fans due to poor decision-making during the seven years he has been at the helm.
Taking over after the Bruins brass fired Peter Chiarelli, Sweeney’s first real impact as GM came at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, which most fans would not rate very high.
The Bruins held three consecutive picks (13,14 and 15), with whom Sweeney selected defenseman Jakub Zboril and wingers Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn. With only DeBrusk making the NHL roster on a consistent basis.
The following three picks were Matthew Barzal (New York Islanders), Kyle Connor (Winnipeg Jets), and Thomas Chabot (Ottawa Senators).
Some could argue that Sweeney’s only successful selections were defenseman Charlie McAvoy in 2016, Jeremy Swayman in 2017, and forward Fabian Lysell in 2021.
Not one GM makes the right decision 100 percent of the time, but looking back at Sweeney’s tenure, there are more questionable moves than positive ones like the David Backes and John Moore signings or trading Reilly Smith and Marc Savard to Florida for the rights to RFA Jimmy Hayes.
Fans have little faith in Sweeney’s ability to build a true contender in Boston, given his history of mediocre free agent signings like Riley Nash, Matt Belesky, and Nick Foligno.
While the moves made a positive impact in the locker room, they didn’t exactly bring the Bruins closer to being Cup contenders.
Examining past drafts, signings, and trades is always hindsight, but one decision Bruins fans still struggle with is the complete one-eighty on coach Bruce Cassidy.
Looking back over more decisions Sweeney has made, was the contract extension the right move for the Bruins as they search for a new head coach? Sweeney himself said the players needed a new voice.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman, the three candidates in the mix for the next bench boss are St. Louis Blues assistant Jim Montgomery, Seattle Kraken assistant Jay Leach, and Providence College head coach Nate Leaman.
Time will tell if the Bruins will break the mold of sticking with “Boston guys” like Leach and move forward with Montgomery or Leaman.
One thing is certain; it’s going to be an interesting next couple of weeks as Bruins Nation awaits the naming of the 29th head coach, navigating the draft – in which the Bruins don’t even have a first-round pick and free agency.
With little to no cap space, this is where the Bruins brass and fans alike will see what Sweeney is made of and what happens if he doesn’t build a winner. For Bergeron, the fans and even Sweeney hope he’s successful.