Bean: Don Sweeney handled trade deadline like a pro

Bean: Don Sweeney handled trade deadline like a pro

This season, Zdeno Chara carries a cap hit of $4 million. Between the retained money on Matt Beleskey ($1.9 million) and the buyout charges of from Dennis Seidenberg ($2.16 million) and Jimmy Hayes ($566,667), the Bruins are paying over $4.63 million for players not on the team. 

In other words, the Bruins are paying more for missteps made in Don Sweeney's early days as GM* than they are for their captain. That's because Sweeney wasn't good at the job early on. I think he is now. 

(*Yes, Seidenberg was a Chiarelli signing, but it was Sweeney's decision to buy him out and sign John-Michael Liles rather than just keep Seidenberg another year and then buy out one year rather than two.)

Sweeney's tenure with the Bruins started off -- as he actually said it would -- bumpy. He made the correct choice to trade one of the franchise's cornerstones in Milan Lucic, getting a good haul in return. Yet he showed his inexperience (perhaps in a panic out of fear of an offer sheet) by getting a less-than-commensurate return in the Dougie Hamilton trade. He traded for and paid Hayes. He signed Beleskey. He gave up a third-rounder for Zac Rinaldo. 

In that time, he also made a bevy of draft picks, some of which have already shown to be wise in Brandon Carlo and Jake DeBrusk. Yet drafting (especially with the number of picks the Bruins had) wasn't really going to be the question with Sweeney. Success there was expected given his background in player development. The question was whether he could handle agents and opposing GMs with competence. 

That's something that took some time, but he got team-friendly deals for both Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak after giving early overpays to guys like Beleskey and Adam McQuaid. Prowess in contract negotation had been shown, but trading for a star remained his last ability to prove. 

Thanks to strong years from veterans and supplementary contributions from young players, the Bruins suddenly found themselves needing such a trade for an attempted Cup run. He pulled that off, too.

A first-round pick and a prospect like Ryan Lindgren (along with Ryan Spooner and a late pick) is a lot to give up, but perhaps Sweeney deduced that his team's chances of a championship run are actually better this season than they might be in the next couple, when the team probably won't be getting the performances currently being given by Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron. 

So he got the deal done for Rick Nash. Thumbs up there. He also wisely added depth on the back end in Nick Holden a year after a little defensive depth might have made the difference in the first round against Ottawa. The Tommy Wingels thing is fine. Same with Brian Gionta. Not a major concern either way, but kudos on valuing depth. 

Bruins fans should lament the Lightning getting Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller from the Rangers, but Sweeney couldn't have assumed that was going to happen and he certainly shouldn't have tried to get that package for what it cost Tampa. 

The Lightning sent a top roster player (25-year-old Vladislav Namestnikov, who has 20 goals this season), multiple high picks (a 2018 first-rounder and a conditional 2019 first), their 2016 first-round pick and their 2016 second-round pick to New York. 

That is an absolute ton, and it's absolutely not a package the Bruins were in any position to replicate. They've got to draft and develop replacements for the stars currently leading them. Giving away all their picks and best prospects is the surest way back to having to overpay vets to fill holes better filled by youth. 

So the Bruins spent where they could have -- and should have. It was wise and savvy dealing and decision-making from a group that has pivoted well from its early blunders. 

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

AP Photo

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

GOLD STAR: Every once in a while Brad Marchand wills the Bruins to a win that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise had, and that happened again on Friday night with a three-point explosion for No. 63 in the final 20 minutes. Marchand finished with a goal and three points in 19:57 of ice time along with a plus-2 rating, and played a key role in the three-goal outburst that allowed the B’s to vanquish a 2-0 deficit. It was Marchand that opted not to shoot from the face-off dot with a look at the net in the closing seconds, and instead dropped it down low to David Pastrnak as he curled around the net and pushed a puck past Kari Lehtonen for the game-winner. Marchand finished with two shots on net, eight total shot attempts and a number of big plays in the third period redirecting pucks in close, kicking off shorthanded scoring plays and then setting up clutch game-winners in the final 15 seconds of the game. It’s the kind of night where Marchand played like an MVP even if he isn’t going to get much of a sniff at the Hart Trophy. 

BLACK EYE: Jamie Benn scored a shorthanded goal for the Dallas Stars, but he also jumped up in the air and clobbered Brad Marchand from behind with a completely unnecessary hit in the third period that went without a penalty being called. Instead it seemed to incense Marchand, who never gave up in the final sequence and ultimately fed a pass to David Pastrnak down low for the game-winner with just 11.1 seconds remaining in the game. Benn finished a minus-2 for Dallas while being on the ice for a pair of goals against, had a brutal 1-for-7 performance in the face-off dot and really acted like a punk on the play with Marchand in the third period. Benn is a better player than that and shouldn’t be resorting that level on a fellow star player like Marchand. 

TURNING POINT: Once again the Bruins really turned things around in the third period while outscoring the Stars by a 3-0 margin, and really flooding the Dallas net with 10 of their 36 shots on net for the night. It all started with a relentless shift from Boston’s top line where Riley Nash made a pass from his knees before taking a big hit, and then Brad Marchand redirected a David Pastrnak shot from the slot off his leg and into the net for Boston’s first goal. That first score finally allowed the Bruins to begin building some momentum, score each of the next two goals as the game slipped away from Dallas and once again proved themselves as a hockey club that one doesn’t ever doubt in the third period. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask had a career-high 40 saves and turned away some really good looks from the Dallas offense while showing exactly what the Bruins can be capable of when their goaltending is on point. The only goals that beat Rask were a first period score with droves of traffic in front of the net, and a second period shorthanded score for Jamie Benn where he pulled one of those unconventional finishing moves on Rask at the very end. Rask made 11 saves on the Dallas power play alone during a trio of PP chances, and made a crucial leg pad save on Antoine Roussel in the third period that helped open things up for the goal-scoring outburst late in the game. Hopefully the strong, resounding performance from Rask answers some of the questions about some of his recent so-so performances between the pipes.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 29 – the number of goals this season for David Pastrnak as he readies to become only the ninth Bruins player to hit the 30-goal plateau in back-to-back seasons over the last 35 years of franchise history. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Resiliency. We didn’t want to go quietly for sure. We can live with the end result as long as we play the right way. The end result went our way again in the end, and I think that’s a credit to the guys.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN about another comeback win for the Black and Gold.

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

AP Photo

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

DALLAS - David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

TALKING POINTS: B's resiliency on full display vs Stars

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card.

Dallas led 2-0 on a first-period goal by Esa Lindell and Jamie Benn's short-handed score late in the second.

In the third, Marchand tipped in a shot by Pastrnak before Schaller scored on a 2-on-1 with Marchand.

Lehtonen finished with 33 saves.

Lindell scored 2:26 into the game. Jason Dickinson tried to deflect a shot from the right point into the net but the puck went wide right. Curtis McKenzie picked it up behind the goal line and passed to Lindell high in the left faceoff circle. His wrist shot went in off Rask's right arm.

Benn missed two good scoring opportunities early in the second period, but connected at 19:22. He took a pass from Tyler Seguin at the Dallas blue line and had a breakaway when Matt Grzelcyk fell down. Benn slid a backhand under Rask.