Bruins’ Neely: ‘I think we can be a playoff team’
It’s been an eventful few months for the Boston Bruins, and that may be an understatement.
After missing the playoffs this past spring, the firing of Peter Chiarelli, the hiring of Don Sweeney as the new general manager and two major trades at the NHL Draft that saw Dougie Hamilton sent to Calgary and Milan Lucic to L.A., Bruins’ president Cam Neely apparently sees his team as one that could potentially make the post-season in 2016.
“There’s lots of parity in the East,” Neely told the Boston Herald. “It’s going to be tight, it’s going to be a challenge. I think we can be a playoff team. I don’t want to sound like that’s our only goal, just to be a playoff team. That’s not a very high goal. We’re past that.
“But I want to see us improve certainly from where we were last year. I think if guys can continue to improve — (David) Pastrnak, (Brett) Connolly, (Ryan) Spooner — I don’t see why we can’t have a very good year this year.”
Two years after appearing in the Stanley Cup Final -- which was two years after Boston won the championship in 2011 -- the Bruins missed out on the 2015 playoffs by two points while finishing 23rd in the league in scoring.
Their failure to qualify for the playoffs ushered in change, particularly in the front office. However, the club’s moves at the draft and in the days after brought instant and heavy criticism.
Based on Sweeney’s comments Friday, the Bruins could still go after available free agents prior to the start of the season.
“There are still players out there that may fit,” said Sweeney, as per NESN.com. “You have conversations with agents about possibilities. I think we’re comfortable with where we are in creating internal competition, but I’m not going to stop sort of asking in areas that we can continue to look at.”