Don Sweeney might have traded away important core players in Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic while stockpiling draft picks and prospects last weekend, but the Bruins' first-year GM sent out this message to the fans: we are not in rebuild mode.
“No, I don't think this is a rebuild. We didn't strip this thing down,” said Sweeney, who has been under some fire since a tough first weekend at the NHL Draft where the Bruins failed to move up in the top-10 and trade for the defenseman they wanted. “We have a tremendous core group of guys that are going to carry the load in the short term while these young guys gain their footing. There were some situations that I was presented where I felt we needed to change course a little bit.
“I attacked this from looking at gaining cap flexibility, and improving the team sometime between now and September, and then going forward. We had to look at some of the situations we were presented that would have maybe put us further behind the 8-ball, and we wanted to get out from under that. We had to evaluate our players, where they are now and where they’re going to be moving forward. We did some of that as well, and we still have a tremendous core group with a number of prospects now that we feel good about.”
To Sweeney’s point, he revealed that the Bruins were facing close to $1 million ($969,000) on bonus overage charges for this season’s cap based on the entry level bonuses that Hamilton and other young players hit last season.
While there is still a B’s core group of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg, Brad Marchand, Torey Krug and others, it’s difficult to feel like they’re a legit playoff threat when that nucleus missed the playoffs last season. Sweeney left the door open to still execute a major move or two to vastly improve the current roster, but also made it clear in no uncertain terms that players like Rask won’t be dealt with Hamilton and Lucic already gone.
“Absolutely, Tuukka will not be traded,” said Sweeney. “[The rumored trade talks] never happened.”
So there is a sliver of good news for Bruins fans: the team isn’t going to move out any more name players from their roster. Moves to move pieces like Chara, Krejci or Rask would signify a major rebuild going on in Boston, and that’s pretty clearly something that the B’s fan base wouldn’t have an appetite for right now.