Morning Free Association: Sweeney and Neely Speak

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As the Boston Bruins head into full off-season mode, Don Sweeney and Cam Neely held final press availabilities until the upcoming drafts. As one could imagine, they had some things to say about signing the big three free agents but not enough that anyone has a real idea of what will happen.

As we’ve stated before, this period of time in full of uncertainty. The pandemic has taken a toll on players, teams, and the public alike. Things are starting to get back to normal in this area. Still, players are disappointed and drained and need some time to think. Or have surgery. Or have to wait out the Seattle expansion draft to find out where they fit.

Sweeney said that he and the agent for Taylor Hall have expressed a mutual interest in his returning but that they need to see how the pieces fit. He said that Krejci may have a desire to return but that he has some family considerations to make and that he requested a few days away from the Bruins to have his necessary conversations. Sweeney stated that when Krejci is ready they will have “a real honest conversation” and that Krejci has stated before that if he continues to play in the NHL, he wants to remain in Boston. It sounds like Sweeney would like that as well because a Hall-Krejci-Smith line was a fully constructed second line for the first time in years.

Of course, Sweeney has decided that he’d rather not sign anyone before the expansion draft because that would cause more headaches involving which players to protect. That brings up a particular problem to this year: Seattle has the right to interview UFAs days before the draft. The Kraken could come to an agreement with the UFA and then sign them to a max deal, counting as the draft pick from the UFAs club.

From Pierre LeBrun’s article in The Athletic:

The Kraken have an exclusive window from July 18 at 10 a.m. ET to July 21 at 10 a.m. ET to speak with, and potentially sign any RFAs or UFAs left unprotected for the expansion draft by the 30 NHL clubs (Vegas is exempt from the expansion draft).

If Seattle signs one of these players during this time, it counts as the Kraken’s expansion draft pick from that club.

So, let’s combine the eight-year max deal detail from above with the free-agent window here in one tidy example: Let’s say Seattle comes to an agreement with pending UFA Dougie Hamilton during this July 18-21 window, it means Hamilton could get an eight-year max deal from the Kraken and it means he would count as Seattle’s expansion draft pick from the Hurricanes.

So, yeah, that throws a wrench into the works. The key words are “come to a agreement” which means the player would agree to a deal. With Hall continually saying he wants to be here (and that he always has) and with Krejci only wanting to play for the Bruins, it’s less likely that those two players would be lost to the Kraken.

Sweeney also noted that the defensive corps suffered a collective 8 concussions this season. That is not good. In 2019-2020, Connor Clifton, Torey Krug, and Brandon Carlo all had concussions that preventing them from playing just prior to the league shutdown in March; Clifton’s had shut him down since December. So more is definitely not better.

The Bruins GM also told reporters that Charlie Coyle will have a “maintenance procedure” surgery this summer, whatever that means.

Cam Neely had a few remarks ranging from the 2015 Draft to another potential run for Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. On 2015, he said that in hindsight, he wished that the team had taken a little more time in examining the choices a bit more, that they tried to move up but failed, and that a scout had assured them that a certain player would not be available in the second round. All of this led to the selections being lackluster.

Neely also acknowledges that Sweeney had little time between his hiring and the draft to fully perform the task. I’m not sure why this is an issue because Sweeney was the Assistant GM during Peter Chiarelli’s tenure.

When asked about the future, especially the next season, Neely pointed out a need: a puck moving left defenseman. Probably one that can quarterback the power play, one who isn’t Torey Krug obviously.

And he is committed to make another run for both Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and taking a long, hard look at the roster to make it better

As for the Bruins goaltending situation next season, neither executive seemed confident that a Jeremy Swayman – Daniel Vladar combination was the way to go, rather they’d like to sign a seasoned veteran backup until Tuukka Rask comes back.

It must have killed Haggs to write that tweet.

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The London Bear
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The London Bear

Thanks for that update. We will see what happens.

Supposed to be the last sunny day for quite a while here. Expecting a big storm tonight. Very muggy rn, uncomfortable.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Back in the hills!! And Jo took a day off to be here, too! Joy!

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Morning all. It’s really weird to seeing people not wearing face masks here anymore. Going to take awhile to get the brain adjusted!

IntentionallyWidenberg
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IntentionallyWidenberg

I am confused each time I walk into a store. Yesterday was the first time I didn’t put my mask on before entering a place.

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Same, didn’t put my mask on at the grocery store. Such an odd feeling.

The London Bear
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The London Bear

Our cases are going thru the roof poop

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I’m still wearing, of course, but am seeing more and more mask less people. Normal times!!! Thing is, some places never did much mask wearing (Readsboro, VT)