The Boston Bruins made a lot of noise during the hours prior to the start of the 2015 NHL Draft. The B's sent twenty-two year old defenseman Dougie Hamilton, to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Calgary's first and both of their second round picks (15th, 45th, and 52nd overall).
Less than an hour later, the Bruins dealt power forward Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings for the 13th overall pick in the draft, goaltender Marty Jones, and prospect defenseman Colin Miller. The Bruins are obligated to pay $2.7 million of Lucic's salary, but even with that the Bruins freed up roughly $11 million in cap space.
The Bruins then had the 13th, 14th, and 15th picks, and used them all to draft defenseman Jakub Zboril, and wingers Jake DeBrusk and Zachary Senyshyn.
The Bruins also signed defenseman Adam McQuaid to a four year, $11 million contract.
While a lot of people are already jumping ship and calling these moves the start of a disastrous rebuild, they actually did a lot to help the team.
Dougie Hamilton was a restricted free agent, and he was going to want big money that the Bruins simply did not have. The Bruins realized it was more intelligent to deal him away before the draft for several high picks and gain some solid cap space rather then deal him afterwards and receive little in return like they did with Johnny Boychuk. Dealing Dougie Hamilton may not sound like the logical thing for the Bruins to do, but it makes more sense then waiting until the preseason and dealing away a top four defenseman for second and third round picks in two years. It may not seem like it now, but what Don Sweeney did with Hamilton today is a step of progress compared to Peter Chiarelli's disastrous trade with the New York Islanders last September.
As for Milan Lucic, the Bruins needed to clear more space and it was honestly just time to move on. Lucic was a ferocious competitor and a great player at times for the Bruins, but right now this team needs guys who are fast, skilled, and aren't going to be spending a lot of time in the penalty box. Getting rid of Lucic and Hamilton may end up allowing the Bruins to sign some solid free agents this summer.
The Bruins are now without Hamilton who many assumed would become the leader of the future defensive core. Adam McQuaid now takes on a huge role on the blue line. Along with the newly added Colin Miller, it is now McQuaid, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller,Matt Bartkowski, Joe Morrow, and Zach Trotman who are the future on the blue line. Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg are on their last stands and its only a matter of time until their legs give out on them.
Now with McQuaid signed long term, he is going to have to become a leader on this team and produce more offensively and in his own end. Big hits, scraping it up, and solid defensive play should not be an issue for McQuaid. But offensively, there is no way he can carry this defensive core. That will be the job of Torey Krug and Colin Miller if he gets a roster spot. But as for now, it looks like the Bruins have their minds set on getting a good group of defensive defensemen set up for the long term.
The Lucic trade and the letting go of Carl Soderberg now create two large voids on the second and third lines. The Bruins will likely be active in the free agent market in hopes of filling those holes. The core of the forward group in Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand remains in place and they still have Ryan Spooner, Reilly Smith, Loui Eriksson, Brett Connolly and David Pastrnak. It is not going to be easy to figure out this forward core but the Bruins do have some young talent and the funds to do it. Add in a free agent to play alongside Pastrnak and Krejci and we are in business.
The acquisition of Marty Jones is actually a very good thing. Getting a decent backup goaltender is something the Bruins desperately needed. Malcom Subban and Niklas Svedberg simply are not ready for the NHL, and neither is newly added Zane McIntyre. Jones may not be the guy starting in the crease night in and night out for the Bruins, but he will certainly provide better support on off nights for Tuukka Rask then Subban or Svedberg did in 2014-2015.
All three of the Bruins' draft picks from today are going to need some development. They may not provide much in the present, but they should in the near future. The Bruins definitely are not done making moves this offseason, but today was a pretty eventful and decently positive start to fixing this franchise.
- $11 million in cap space
- Reliable backup goaltender in Marty Jones
- 3 highly drafted prospects
- A veteran defensive defenseman in Adam McQuaid signed long term
- Decent but not yet proven defenseman in Dougie Hamilton
- Declining power forward in Milan Lucic
*Seems like it worked out for the Bruins when you it put it bluntly like that.