Fresh off his GM Of The Year Award in Las Vegas Wednesday, Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney was already in draft mode in Vancouver on Thursday. He told the media that while he was still catching up to the rampant trade chatter leading into the NHL Entry Draft this weekend, he let it be known that he is open for business as far as the Bruins’ first-round pick (30th overall) is concerned.
“I’ve had conversations over the last seven days about moving in different directions,” said Sweeney mid-afternoon Pacific Time. “We’re in meetings now, obviously we have until tomorrow. Might even be during the draft…we’ve had the discussions. We’re just planning that we’re taking our pick. But I certainly put things in motion that if someone wanted to move in a different direction then we may as well.”
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Sweeney also said that while he has been monitoring the unrestricted free agent market, he is more focused on his own restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen. This week saw the San Jose Sharks extend star defenseman Erik Karlsson ($92 million, eight-year deal) before he hit the open market on July 1. The Philadelphia Flyers then did the same with center Kevin Hayes, who they signed for a surprising seven-year, $50 million contract. Sweeney is aware of the numbers but wants to make sure he gets those key RFA’s signed before anything else.
“Those guys will be playing for the Boston Bruins at some point in time next year, it’s just a matter of when we find common ground,” Sweeney said.
As for the UFA market?
“Well, UFA market is. …you just don’t know,” Sweeney pointed out. “You think there’s a couple, then all of a sudden there’s a fall-off, or there’s just a complete run. I think that there’ll be some trickledown. I would not be surprised if teams looking at strengthening their depth, go after some players that aren’t even the headline guys. So, it’s very unpredictable. Where we are right now, with an eye towards making sure we take care of our RFA market as well, you know . . . We’re probably tempering things in the UFA side of things.”
So it appears that as the NHL Draft gets underway, Sweeney is focused on potential picks, trades and locking up his own pending RFA’s first.