On Friday before the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft announcements as to the trades of both Dougie Hamilton (to the Calgary Flames) and Milan Lucic (to the Los Angeles Kings) had fans bemoaning the state of the Boston Bruins and rending their clothing in despair. With those trades the Bruins acquired additional picks in the first and second rounds of the draft that was about to take place in addition to a couple of additional players in the Lucic trade in the form of goalie Martin Jones and defenseman Colin Miller.
It was suspected that general manager Don Sweeney was hoping to package his three first-round picks together to move up in the draft, but when that didn’t happen he acquired three plays in Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk and Zachary Senyshyn – whose attributes can be seen here in an earlier column.
Overall the team acquired ten prospects from their picks—the most of any team. And fans continued to wonder where the team was headed. Perhaps Sweeney was given a little slack when it was revealed that the six-year contract that Hamilton signed with the Flames on Tuesday was just slightly more than what the Boston Bruins were offering and that there was something more to Hamilton’s not accepting Boston’s “very significant offer” than more money.
Monday came the announcement that the organization had acquired forward Zac Rinaldo—a player known for playing a little too close to the edge sometimes—from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for the Bruins’ third round pick in the 2017 Draft. Many considered this to be a steep price for this particular player.
“We pushed the pick out to 2017 and felt he was a player that, you know, we wanted a little more energy, I talked about playing with a little more energy in our lineup, and it’s ready-made in that regard,” Sweeney told media in a pre-free agency conference call. “He’s a player that’s still young and he plays with a tremendous amount of courage. We need to get him to make sure he finds that line because he’s crossed over it a few times. But he’s got a tremendous enthusiasm for the game, and speaking with him yesterday, was very, very excited about being a member of the Boston Bruins and doing whatever he could to help us win.”
During the conference call, Sweeney brought up an important point about how he and his staff are looking at the transactions and how the media and the fans are evaluating the trades.
“You guys are evaluating the prices paid and such, and the rest of us are evaluating the conversations we’re having and what those prices are going to be,” he said. “So when you find a deal that you feel helps your hockey club, that’s what you’re trying to do.”
Free agency is stirring up the waters around the league and many teams were making announcements throughout the afternoon before free agency opens: the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks trading Brandon Saad, and prospects Michael Paliotta and Alex Broadhurts to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp and a 2016 fourth-round pick, for instance.
Also announced during Tuesday’s conference call was the qualifying of Ryan Spooner, Brett Connolly and Martin Jones—all three restricted free agents–and that defenseman Matt Bartkowski is headed to free agency. Through their social media outlets, though it was already well known, they confirmed that Adam McQuaid had been signed to a four-year contract worth $11 million.
Bruins sign defenseman Adam McQuaid to a four-year contract extension through the 2018-19 season. Read: http://t.co/3WgljyNSlV ^BB
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 30, 2015
No sooner had the conference call finished, and Bruins watchers thought there would be a breather until Wednesday, when it was announced that the Bruins had traded the just recently acquired and qualified Martin Jones to the San Jose Sharks. The 25-year old goaltender was traded in exchange for a first round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and forward Sean Kuraly.
Kuraly, 22, served as assistant captain of the Miami University (Ohio), who earned 19-10=29 totals and 38 penalty minutes, playing in all 40 games for the RedHawks. In his career at Miami, he missed just two games of the 120 NCAA contests—missed for a good reason, as he was competing with Team USA in the 2013 World Junior Championship when they won gold—where he posted 37-33=70 totals. There are currently two other Miami University players in the Bruins organization: Reilly Smith and Austin Czarnik, with whom Kuraly was a teammate from 2021-15.
The Dublin, Ohio native was selected by the Sharks in the fifth round (133rd overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Two certainties have come out of all of this. Sweeney assured the media that Tuukka Rask was “absolutely” not on the market. The second was Max Talbot assuring fans that the rumors of his requesting a trade were false.
— Max Talbot (@Max25talbot) June 30, 2015
Free agency begins July 1 and it is clear that Sweeney and company are not finished yet.