One would expect a hockey town to never really be quiet, even during the offseason, and this is exactly the motto that the Boston Bruins appear to be living by this summer. Management has been rather active in shipping players out, drafting new talent, and making key acquisitions all designed to strengthen a club that is used to winning on a consistent basis. Last season, however, ended in disappointment as Boston finished 9th in the Eastern Conference, missing out on the postseason. Bruins fans expect not only a return to the playoffs this coming campaign, but they desire a run at the Stanley Cup as well. We will need to wait and see, however, if those expectations are being properly managed this offseason.
To begin the offseason, the Bruins traded away Reilly Smith and unloaded the contract of Marc Savard. In return, they went after young gun Jimmy Hayes. Hayes is believed to be much more physical than Smith, which fits better with the overall game plan in Boston. In getting rid of Savard’s contract, the Bruins not only saved some cap room, but they were able to get a player who has the potential to be a 50-point player in his first year in a Bruins uniform. They have already demonstrated their faith in Hayes by locking him into a three-year contract worth in excess of $2 million per. All indications are that this was a solid move by Boston, and it got their offseason off to a smashing success to this point.
Graphic via latimes
Matt Beleskey entered free agency this year, and the Bruins wasted no time in pursuing him. They were able to sign the 27-year old wingman to a five-year contract in the range of $19 million. He is coming off a great season with Anaheim, scoring 22 goals on his way to 32 points. He is not guaranteed success in Boston, as their style of play is much different than it was in California, but he should be a good fit. It will be great to see Beleskey matched with either Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci. Couple that with the relative affordability of his signing, and this appears to be another solid move by the Bruins.
Perhaps one of the more surprising moves of the offseason to date is the decision made by Boston to trade away defenseman Dougie Hamilton. One of the tops in the NHL, the Bruins will now see Hamilton in a Flames uniform. In exchange, they did receive 3 draft picks in this years draft, but this might be a tough one for many in Boston to stomach. The Bruins were certainly worried that Hamilton would have become the target of a more sizeable offer next season, so they wanted to offload him now, save the cap space, and rebuild with younger talent. This could work, if the Bruins can find another quality defenseman to replace him before the puck drops in October. Overall, however, Boston is making some quality moves this offseason that are mostly designed to get them in a better position to make a final regular season push in 2016. They are well positioned to do just this, so it should be a productive year for Bruins fans on the whole.
Graphic via hookedonhockeymagazine