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Thursday, 15 June 2017 16:34

Offseason Checklist for Bruins GM Don Sweeney

Written by 
Offseason Checklist for Bruins GM Don Sweeney Boston Herald

With the Stanley Cup finals ending a few days ago, the offseason is fast approaching. Here is a list of moves Don Sweeney can make to improve the Bruins moving forward.

1.  Resign David Pastrnak


David Pastrnak is a restricted free agent this season. Pastrnak , just 21 years old, is coming off of his best season in a Bruins uniform. Pastrnak scored 34 goals and added 36 assists for 70 points. Pastrnak seems to be a superstar in the making going forward and the Bruins cannot afford to lose another young, skilled forward. They have moved on from Tyler Seguin, Phil Kessel, and Dougie Hamilton in the past so losing Pastrnak would be a nightmare situation.


According to Sweeney, they two sides are moving in the right direction towards a deal. At the combine in Buffalo, Sweeney met with reporters and stated “ J.P. (Pastrnak’s agent) and I have sat down, we’ve had some good discussions. It’s moving in the right direction. Timeline, I don’t have. But we expect to complete a deal and for him to be a longtime member of the Boston Bruins. That’s our intention.”


Pastrnak also stated he wants to remain a Bruin and loves it in Boston. As of now there is still not deal in place, and until there is, it will still be priority number one for the Bruins and Sweeney.




      2.  Acquire a Top Four Left Shot Defensemen



By now everyone knows that the Bruins defense needs to be upgraded. They played above and beyond expectations last season with the talent they had. Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy showed great promise for years to come as staples on the Bruins blue line. Unfortunately, both players are right shot defensemen.


On the left side the Bruins have Zdeno Chara, who is going to be 40 years old, and Torey Krug. The Bruins need to groom someone behind Chara as a shutdown option. Chara’s contract is expiring next season and Bruins need to stop relying on him for 20plus minutes a night. Krug is a great offensive defensemen that can quarterback the powerplay, but his height limits him from being placed in a shutdown role.


The Bruins have been linked to Minnesota Wild defensemen Jonas Brodin in trade rumors. This is exactly the type of player Sweeney should be targeting. He will be 24 in July and plays a shutdown role in Minnesota. He would instantly relieve the workload of Chara and can be placed with McAvoy. If the Bruins cannot get Brodin, someone like him should be high on the list. With the expansion draft coming and the Bruins having predominantly right shot defensemen, acquiring a left shot, top end defensemen should top the priority list heading into offseason.




    3.  Acquire a Left Wing for David Krejci



Behind Brad Marchand, the left wing situation was a black hole. David Krejci has not had a left winger to play with since the Milan Lucic trade. Matt Beleskey was suppose to replace Lucic, but he has been a disaster. Frank Vatrano has been very inconsistent to start his Bruins career and could not lock up a top six role. There are young players on the rise such as Jake DeBrusk, Peter Cehlarik, and Danton Heinen, but to expect them to jump into a top six role is a little premature.


The Bruins would load up the top line with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Pastrnak at times throughout the season. This left Krejci with almost no one to play with that has offensive upside. Krejci is moving past his prime, but Sweeney should look to find a productive winger that could help bolster the offense alongside Krejci for more balance. It would give teams more to think about instead of just shutting down the Bergeron line.



     4.  Improve Backup Goalie



Tuukka Rask is not built to have a huge workload. Yes, some fans might hate it due to  his contract, but it is reality. Bruins president Cam Neely even acknowledged it in his end of the year press conference. He stated “Just based on what we’ve seen in the past couple of years, we realize you just can’t overplay Tuukka.  So we do have to really target a backup goalie who can play a certain amount of games that’s going to give us chances to win and give Tuukka a chance to get back in and play another stretch … the backup goalie is an area that we need to focus on.”


Whether is will be Anton Khudobin or someone else, this is an area of need for the Bruins. Khudobin won five of his last six starts down the stretch to help the Bruins secure a playoff spot, but let's not forget how poor he was earlier in the season. Bruins should look to sign someone to compete against Khudobin or just move on entirely from him to get someone more reliable. It will benefit both the Bruins and Rask. The Bruins will have a back up they trust and Rask will be able to rest more during the season.



   5.  Move On From Ryan Spooner


Ryan Spooner is a restricted free agent heading into the offseason. He has been rumored to be on the trade block and rightfully so. Spooner just does not seem to fit with this Bruins team. He was benched in the playoffs by coach Bruce Cassidy. Cassidy said Spooner was healthy enough to play, but played players such as Matt Beleskey and Sean Kuraly got the nod over him. He was not getting the job done in any facet of the game. He was terrible on faceoffs, subpar on defense, and his offense dipped in the second half of the season. He was also shying away from contact and did not like to play in the dirty areas that it takes to be successful.


Furthermore, with younger players on the rise such as Austin Czarnik and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Spooner would seem to be expendendable. Teams around the league love offense and speed that Spooner can provide. He is still just 25 years old and could blossom into a really solid player, but everyone has an expiration date. Spooner’s should be now.


Michael Settipani

Michael Settipani joined CLNS Radio in July 2015 as a Bruins Beat columnist. Since then, Michael has also joined the Red Sox Beat team, and started the Bruins Beat podcast. In addition, Michael is a sports productions professional, and has held positions at HockeyTech Inc., Entercom Communications and NESN. 

Michael is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University where he obtained a B.A. in Communications. 

Follow Michael on Twitter @MikeSetta22 and the Bruins Beat Podcast @Bruins_Beat