Morning Free Association: Changes are Coming

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Bruins GM Don Sweeney spoke with the media via Zoom yesterday. He touched on a variety of subjects regarding improving and retooling the roster for next season. One theme that came through loud and clear was that changes are coming. They’re coming with additions from within the system and deals and from subtractions through the UFA market and trades. Sweeney knows that this team will have to battle in a crowded Eastern Conference, which seems to be more weighted towards the Metropolitan Division, and that any road to the Stanley Cup will have to be won through Tampa Bay. In fact the recent playoff loss to the Lightning seemed to spur the notion that the team does some things well but is lacking in many areas. Comparing the team up close to that of the Lightning makes the need for improvement more notable.

One of the many subjects that he spoke about was defensive free agents Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara. While he still asserts that the matter of Krug is that the two sides just haven’t reached a “landing spot” in a deal, he acknowledges that contract talks haven’t started in earnest during this time between the end of their season and the start of the new league year.

With Chara it sounds like he’ll explore all sorts of options while trying to see if Chara fits. Chara has repeated his desire to continue playing hockey and only wanting to do that in Boston.

“And I respect Zdeno’s comments, he always been an iconic player for us, an important player for us, and we’re going to explore opportunities with he and other players that have either UFA or RFA status and hopefully check off the boxes like we have with several other players and continue to move forward and improve our hockey club and addressing Zdeno’s contractual situation is part of that process.”

To fit in the lineup, Chara might be better served further down the pairings.

It seems that the with only about $15.5 million in cap space, the Bruins will not be signing a big free agent or possibly making any deals at all. Well, not without some other movement on the roster. Sweeney is looking to retool the roster with younger players like Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, Urho Vaakanainen, and Karson Kuhlman out of camp and possibly make deals to trade for players to fill other holes.

“There are a lot of teams that are up against the cap in a flat cap environment. …We’re looking to make some changes in our group. I feel very good about overall organization we are and how competitive we are. But, we have to – I’m not doing my job if I’m not looking to improve our hockey club on a daily basis without being dissatisfied. I know our group needs to be pushed and have hopefully some internal growth with some players that are coming up on waivers and they have to have an opportunity to make our hockey club. Otherwise, we make hard decisions. I do believe the free agency period will be dictated by whether we make any transactions prior to that, in and around – prior to that or in and around the draft.”

“There’s been plenty of talk of teams trying to move pieces around and players to improve their own clubs and we’re going to do the exact same thing,” Sweeney said. “Having conversations, I’m pretty aware of how teams are valuing players on our roster. So, I have to look at it and say, ‘Ok, does that mean we have the internal growth available to fill that spot?’ Any time you look at moving players in and out, you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul in the situation.

“We have to understand that. … Generally you know your own players better than anybody else’s, but you’re trying to learn what the other player can bring to the table and where he fits. We did that at the deadline. It worked in the Carolina series and it didn’t work in the Lightning series perhaps as an organization. Again, we didn’t play our best hockey and we weren’t at full strength. It’s really incumbent upon me as a manager to improve our club. It’s on me to explore every opportunity we have to improving it. There are certain players I certainly want to avoid because they are part of what we are trying to accomplish right now and in the future. And we’ll try to do that. but I have to explore to continue to improve our club.”

There are a lot of teams that will be feeling the cap crunch next season, so Sweeney may have a few dance partners.

Another issue that Sweeney will have to work through next season is preparing to protect or expose players for the Seattle expansion draft. Sweeney expects to “lose a good hockey player”.

Finally, Don Sweeney once again expressed that he has no reservations about Tuukka Rask, that he expects that his leaving the bubble was circumstantial and that he doesn’t see a pattern developing. Rask, who is a free agent after the 2020-2021 season, is expected to complete his term with the Bruins.


Last night’s NHL Award winner reveal involved one of our own: Bruce Cassidy wins the Jack Adams Award!

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the german hammer

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Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

This is oddly hypnotic.

IntentionallyWidenberg
Admin
IntentionallyWidenberg

Heh!
I love those kinds of instantly recognizable impact sounds.
*doonk* *doonk*
*doonk* *doonk*

Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

It’s such a satisfying sound.

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

Hey All!
Coming to you from the wilds of NW Mass. Got my first welding job up here… Yay!

Yes, changes need to be made. The Bolts and last year’s Blues team showed that the Bs lack a little size in key positons. The expansion draft, I forgot about that. Let no Ritchie be protected! Take my Ritchies, please. Let’s hope for the best.

IntentionallyWidenberg
Admin
IntentionallyWidenberg

Congrats on the bit of gainful employment!
comment image

Regularly dragging one’s ass back & forth across the state just to get to work can suck.

IntentionallyWidenberg
Admin
IntentionallyWidenberg

Hmmm…. had a discussion of player size that I just fat-fingered away. sad

The Bruins do have a hole with physicality – Wags & Kuraly can hold their own, and the top-3 centers can all at least absorb a hit (no real tiny guys in the mix). Ritchie should have helped in that area, but he seems like he’s not a very smart player.

They need a Lucic or a Maroon or a Backes in the forward mix – a guy with size, who is comfortable making a hit yet can actually play.
I’m wondering what they did wrong with Noel Acciari – the kid was a machine when making hits, but was allergic to putting pucks into the net – then he goes to FL and is generating hat tricks?

I also miss Kevan Miller – it was nice having a bruiser on D as well as some beef on O. Chara has walked away from that role, Carlo will stand up for himself but isn’t that guy, and McAvoy & Krug don’t have the size to do that either.

BagelBruin
Member
BagelBruin

I think we all assumed the driver for the 4th line was Kuraly. After seeing what Acciari did this year in Florida, I think he was the engine. Bruins messed up

Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

Morning all. Congrats to Bruce.

Doing the radio show again has been fun and a nice way to break up the monotony. Also fun, the (good natured) shit talking that has now gone on between our show and the show after ours. It’s the real Wednesday Night Rivalry!! lol

The London Bear
Member
The London Bear

Do you go to a studio for that or do it via Internet?

Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

We got to the studio. We wipe everything down when we get there then wipe it down again when we’re done with our show.

The London Bear
Member
The London Bear

Ah cool. I wouldnt mind working in the office for a day – just for the novelty of it!

Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

I ended up going into the office yesterday to work because my WFH laptop was being annoying. I kept laughing because I’d go to grab something and then remember “oh yeah, that’s at home.” But, yes, it was nice to work in the office and get a change of scenery.

IntentionallyWidenberg
Admin
IntentionallyWidenberg

I went into the office a couple of times around a month ago.
Since then the office has gotten torn up to take down some small under-utilized rooms and add more cube farm.
Which is weird, because we laid off around 25% of staff a few months ago.

So now going into the office is ill-advised, and probably unsafe (construction workers). Three of the 4 rooms getting undone are close to my cube so I am amazed that my stuff hasn’t gotten clogged with wall-board dust.

BagelBruin
Member
BagelBruin

You have a really cool life. Radio, insurance and coffee! I am serious by the way!

Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

Speaking of insurance, everyone’s favorite season his coming up: Health Insurance Renewal Season!!

The London Bear
Member
The London Bear

Congrats to Butch.

“There are a lot of teams that are up against the cap in a flat cap environment.

The Peaky Bruins should do just fine in a flat cap environment!