Wicked Bruins Fan

Dougie Hamilton, $5 million dollar man?

Don Sweeney took the general manager training wheels off on Friday when he made a few moves that left Bruins’ fans collectively scratching their heads while waiting for some blockbuster transaction to follow. The blockbuster move never came. Well Adam McQuaid did re-sign a four year deal, but let’s just ignore that for now.

The Bruins traded restricted free agent defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for Calgary’s first round pick and two second round picks in the draft. Hamilton is a young promising offensive defenseman that is almost guaranteed to sign a $6 million dollar contract. He is coming off an entry level contract and apparently wanted to sign upwards of $5 million to stay in Boston. Now if you take away the upside Hamilton supposedly has (remember he is only 22), would you think he is worth moving up from a $925,000/year entry level contract to a veteran defenseman salary? If the Bruins re-signed Hamilton to what is reportedly his number, he would have been between Zdeno Chara ($6.9 million) and Dennis Seidenberg ($4 million) on the payroll. Torey Krug signed an extension this past season that keeps him in Boston for another two years at $3.4 million. It’s called a bridge deal which makes a rookie, coming off his first NHL contract, earn his future lucrative pay raise while earning a bump in salary to stick around.

Hamilton didn’t have to sign a two year deal. He could have agreed to one year and then took it from there. Maybe he could have proved that he was worth the increase he’s looking for. But it sounds like his camp’s number was still between Seidenberg and Chara, who have a collective 32 NHL seasons between them.

There was an article calling Hamilton a “franchise player” for the Bruins. I have to politely disagree with that assessment. When the term “franchise player” comes to mind, I think of long time Bruin Patrice Bergeron as an example. Bergeron is the ultimate model of what a NHL player should be both on and off the ice. It’s still too early to tell if Hamilton is the next coming of Bobby Orr or even Ray Bourque. Maybe in 10 years, he will be a franchise player wherever he ends up. I think it is premature to use that term.

One player I would like to compare to Hamilton is his new teammate and former Bruin Dennis Wideman. Wideman, an offensive defenseman, signed a four year contract back in 2008 worth $15,750,000 (previous salary was $600,000 and first year of the new contract was $3.2 million). Note that number is similar to Krug’s extension. Wideman was traded to Calgary as a free agent in 2012 and signed a five year contract worth $26,250,000 (Base salary started at $2,926,829 the first year and bumps to $6,000,000 the final year of his contract. Cap hit is $5.25M). Now before you think that was an over payment for Wideman, he is one of Calgary’s top defenseman and put up good numbers last season (56 points in 80 games).He is also the highest paid Flames player at age 32. So here comes Hamilton, traded to Calgary like Wideman and is expecting Wideman money or more? Really?

Like other Bruins’ fans, I am eager to see the type of contract Hamilton signs with Calgary, if he even does. Remember, there is still a chance another team can submit an offer sheet to him. I don’t think the Bruins could (or would?) have matched an offer sheet had he remained Bruins’ property. I also have to believe Sweeney wanted draft picks this year instead of next year. This year’s draft was reportedly to be one of the best in over a decade. If Hamilton signs for what he’s looking for in length and money, fans might be thankful the Bruins didn’t bite the bullet. But if Hamilton does a bridge deal or takes less money, it will not be a good look for Sweeney and the organization that supposedly “gives up on young players.”

Stay tuned….

2015 NHL Draft: Bruins' Picks

The 2015 NHL Entry Draft will be held on June 26th and 27th in Sunrise, Florida. The order of the selections in the draft were announced today. The Bruins retain the following picks...

Round 1
14
Round 2
37 (from PHI via NYI)
Round 3
75
Round 4
105
Round 5
135
Round 6
165
Round 7
195

The Bruins are holding an official draft party in Legends on Friday, June 26th.

New Bruins GM Don Sweeney

The Boston Bruins named former NHL defenseman Don Sweeney the franchise’s eighth General Manager. Sweeney’s previous position in the organization was assistant GM under former GM Peter Chiarelli who was relieved of his duties at the end of the season. Sweeney was rumored to be a candidate for the vacant position after Chiarelli was fired on April 15, 2015.

The new GM wasted no time when he signed forward Joonas Kemppainen from Finland. Kemppainen signed a one year, two-way contract. He also shoots right, which is something the Bruins have lacked in recent seasons. The announcement came today, one day after Sweeney was introduced as GM.

Sweeney joined the organization in 2006 as director of player development. Over a year later, he was promoted to director of hockey operations. The retired defenseman joined the Bruins in the 1988-1989 season and left as an unrestricted free agent in 2003 when he signed with the Dallas Stars to finish his sixteen year NHL career. Bruins President Cam Neely was Sweeney’s teammate for eight seasons.

I was a little skeptical about Sweens becoming GM of the Bruins when it was announced yesterday. However, I made it a point to watch the press conference and was impressed that he didn't dance around questions or make generalizations in his answers. Sweeney seems to have a vision for what type of team will take the ice for the 2015-2016 season.

I have to wonder when Sweeney was the assistant GM, if he didn't see eye to eye with some of the decisions and transactions Chiarelli made.

At the moment, Claude Julien remains in his coaching position with the team. I think he will stay there for the upcoming season. I have to believe Sweeney will change some of the on-ice personnel that will help Julien get back to the successful game plan that took the team to the Cup Final twice. It is easy to blame the coach when he doesn't adjust his game plan appropriately, but I feel it is the players who have to successfully execute that game plan.

Chances are the Bruins roster will not be the same as it is today. Players will come and go, but I am excited about the possibilities under a new GM. Whether or not Julien stay, that remains to be seen.

I can only hope never to hear the phrase “we’re in the evaluating process” ever again.

2014-2015 Bruins Schedule

The NHL released the upcoming season's schedule for all thirty teams earlier this afternoon. I spent a few minutes breaking down the Boston Bruins' schedule.

Home Games
Sunday: 3
Monday: 4 (one afternoon game)
Tuesday: 10
Wednesday: 2 (home opener and New Year's Eve)
Thursday: 8
Friday: 1 (Black Friday which is a 7pm start time)
Saturday: 13 (five afternoon games and one at 5:30)

Road Games
Sunday: 5
Monday: 2
Tuesday: 4
Wednesday: 8
Thursday: 9
Friday: 5
Saturday: 8 (two afternoon games)

The three Sunday night home games are December 21st against the Buffalo Sabres, February 8th against the Montreal Canadiens and March 8th against the Detroit Red Wings. There was a rumor that the Bruins would be hosting the Canadiens at Gillette Stadium in February and that Sunday date is the only time the Canadiens visit during that month, but nothing has been announced.

Also good to know that the Bruins will play two back-to-backs at home in February (7th vs. New York Islanders, 8th vs. Canadiens) and March (7th vs. Philadelphia Flyers, 8th vs. Red Wings).

One of the most amusing scheduled games, to me at least, is when the Bruins visit the Vancouver Canucks on Friday the 13th in February.

The Bruins' last regular season home game is April 4th against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They conclude the season on a three game road trip that ends in Tampa Bay on April 11th.

For the complete schedule, check out the team website.

Knock Knock

Who's there?

*crickets*

Stay tuned.