Grading every trade Don Sweeney has made as Bruins GM
Grading every trade Don Sweeney has made as Bruins GM
The Bruins didn’t make a major splash at Wednesday’s trade deadline, but they did add a bottom-six right wing in Drew Stafford.
The unglamorous move signifies that the Bruins are trying to make the playoffs without spending a bunch of draft capital. It’s the right path, and one the B’s should have taken a year ago when they received flack for throwing four draft picks -- including a second-rounder -- at a roster that wasn’t strong enough to go far.
With the Stafford acquisition, Don Sweeney has now made nine trades since becoming Boston’s general manager. Here’s an attempt at grading each of them:
SODERBERG TO AVALANCHE
The trade: UFA-to-be Carl Soderberg’s rights to the Avalanche for a 2016 sixth-round pick (No. 165 overall; Oskar Steen)
The grade: A
Easy move. Nothing not to like about it. Soderberg was about to get paid and the Bruins had a replacement at third-line center ready to go in Ryan Spooner, so Sweeney was smart to not sign Soderberg. The return was standard for a UFA’s rights.
HAMILTON TO FLAMES
The trade: RFA-to-be Dougie Hamilton’s rights to Flames for Calgary’s first-round pick (No. 15 overall; Zach Senyshyn), Calgary’s second-round pick (No. 45; Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson) and Washington’s second-round pick (No. 52; Jeremy Lauzon)
The grade: D
You have to separate the players they chose from the actual transaction between Boston and Calgary. In a vacuum, this was very poor handling of the asset by the Bruins. Hamilton didn’t want to be in Boston, but the deal he ended up signing in Calgary (six years at $5.75 million per) was manageable enough that Boston could have matched. If a team signed him to an offer sheet with as little as $340,000 more annually on the same term, the Bruins could have declined to match and received two first-round picks, a second and a third starting the next year.
Hamilton’s play may have fluctuated since leaving Boston, but he was worth more than the Bruins received. That Boston got at least two solid prospects when all was said and done indicates they’re good at drafting, but not at trading. His trade was a case of impatience by an inexperienced leadership group.
LUCIC TO KINGS
The trade: Milan Lucic to Kings for Los Angele’s 2015 first-round pick (No. 13; Jakub Zboril), Colin Miller and the rights to RFA Martin Jones. Bruins retain $2.7 million of Lucic’s salary.
The grade: A
Hamilton or no Hamilton, it made sense for the Bruins to trade Lucic. He was entering the last year of his deal and Sweeney had decided he wasn’t going to be the guy to give him the $42 million deal he eventually got. The return package was stellar considering Lucic was coming off an 18-goal season.
RINALDO TO BRUINS
The trade: Zac Rinaldo to Bruins for Boston’s 2017 third-round pick
The grade: F
No, losing a third-round pick isn’t the end of the world because a third-round pick isn’t guaranteed to turn into an NHL player. Here’s the thing, though: A third-round pick can turn into an NHL player, which is why it wasn’t worth giving one (or really any draft pick) away for Rinaldo, a sixth-round selection in 2008 who was statistically one of the worst players in the league at the time of the 2015 trade.
Rinaldo lasted less than a season in Boston, registering three points in 42 games before being waived, with every other team passing on him. He’s currently in Providence playing out the final year of his contract.
MARTIN JONES TO SHARKS
The trade: RFA-to-be Martin Jones’ rights to Sharks to 2016 first-round pick (No. 29 overall; Trent Frederic) and the rights to Sean Kuraly.
The grade: A-
Fans bemoaned the fact that Jones went to the Stanley Cup Final with the Sharks in his first year in San Jose, but the fact of the matter is that the B’s got a first-round pick and a decent prospect for a player they didn’t need. It’s fair to question whether they should have rolled the dice by signing Jones and trading Tuukka Rask, the fact that Jones has put up similar numbers to Rask while playing on a much better team would suggest the Bruins kept the better player, even if he costs $4 million more.
SMITH AND SAVARD FOR HAYES
The trade: Reilly Smith and Marc Savard to Florida for the rights to RFA Jimmy Hayes
The grade: C-
This grade could be much lower, but again, we’re just evaluating the trades and not the motivation behind them.
The B’s made this move to get rid of Savard’s contract and therefore have more money to spend on Matt Beleskey. It did that, but it also saw the B’s downgrade big time from Smith to Hayes. The Bruins didn’t like Smith at his $3.425 million cap hit, but he’s scored 35 goals over the last two seasons while Hayes has totaled 15 at a $2.3 million cap hit.
STEMPNIAK TO BRUINS
The trade: 2016 fourth-round pick (No. 105; Evan Cormier) and 2017 second-round pick to Devils for Lee Stempniak
The grade: C
This one hurts because the Bruins could have had Stempniak without draft pick compensation by simply offering him a contract while he was skating in Boston over the summer. Instead, they gave up a really solid asset in that second-round pick.
Stempniak was acquired to provide an upgrade over Brett Connolly on the right side of Patrice Bergeron’s line. He put up 10 points (three goals; seven assists) over 19 games, but he also endured a nine-game stretch in which he managed just one point.
LILES TO BRUINS
The trade: 2016 third-round pick (No. 75; Jack Lafontaine), 2017 fifth-round pick, Anthony Camara to Hurricanes for John-Michael Liles
The grade: C+
Liles played well down the stretch for Boston in 2016 and the Bruins liked him enough to buy out Dennis Seidenberg and re-sign Liles as his replacement. The smarter move would have been to keep Seidenberg for another year and then buy him out so the B’s wouldn’t have as much money as they do now, but that’s beside the point.
In a vacuum, they gave up a somewhat modest package for a fine second-or-third-pairing defenseman. They’ve certainly done worse.
STAFFORD TO BRUINS
The trade: Conditional sixth-round pick to Jets for Drew Stafford
The grade: B
A completely harmless move. Stafford can compete for a bottom-six job with Jimmy Hayes. The only real downside is that if Hayes and Beleskey don’t play down the stretch, it means they can’t resurrect their stock for a potential offseason trade (or selection by Vegas). The 31-year-old has four goals and nine assists for 13 points this season, which is actually enough to make him a better option than either Hayes or Beleskey at this point.