Since taking over as Boston Bruins general manager in May 2015, Don Sweeney has hit some trade deadlines out of the ballpark and gone down looking on others. Of course, each deadline is dictated by a variety of factors such as a team’s place in the standings and how real of a chance do they believe they have at making a playoff run. The salary cap clearly plays a role as well, not just in the present but going forward as well. With that in mind and with the deadline next Monday, here’s a look at Sweeney’s track record in the days leading into the deadline and at the actual deadline.
In Claude Julien’s last full season as head coach of the Bruins, the B’s were a bubble team as the trade approached with plenty of rumors circulating about not just what they may do with unrestricted free-agent-to-be Louis Eriksson, but also about Julien’s status behind the bench. The Bruins were teetering on missing and eventually miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for a second season and they were a team in flux, to say the least.
Sweeney elected to keep Eriksson and add some depth trading for veteran forward Lee Stempniak and veteran defenseman John-Michael Liles at the February 29 deadline.
Bruins get: Stempniak
New Jersey Devils get: 2017 second round pick (traded to San Jose Sharks), 2016 fourth round pick
Bruins get: Liles
Carolina Hurricanes get: Forward Anthony Camara, 2016 third round pick, 2017 fifth round pick (traded to Vegas Golden Knights)
*Bruins missed the playoffs on the last day of the regular season.
Sweeney made one trade leading into the 2017 deadline, acquiring veteran forward Drew Stafford at the deadline.
Bruins get: Stafford
Winnipeg Jets get: 2018 conditional sixth round pick that became a fifth.
*Bruins lost in the first round to the Ottawa Senators in six games.
Sweeney was very active heading into the 2018 deadline as he made three trades leading into the February 26 deadline, most notably acquiring the biggest name on the market in winger Rick Nash. He also made another trade on deadline day.
Bruins get: Defenseman Nick Holden
New York Rangers get: Defenseman Rob O’Gara
Bruins get: 2018 third round pick and draft forward Jakub Lauko
Florida Panthers get: Forward Frank Vatrano
Bruins get: Nash
Rangers get: Forwards Matt Beleskey (Bruins retain 50 percent of Beleskey’s salary) and Ryan Spooner; defenseman Ryan Lindgren, 2018 first round pick (traded to Ottawa Senators) and 2019 seventh round pick (traded to Hurricanes).
Bruins get: Forward Tommy Wingels
Blackhawks get: 2019 fifth round conditional pick that became a fourth.
*Bruins lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs
The 2019 deadline was easily Sweeney’s best yet as he acquired center Charlie Coyle leading into deadline day and then at the deadline, the Bruins got winger Marcus Johansson. Both players played pivotal roles in the Bruins trip to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Coyle had another season remaining on his contract and the Bruins extended him to a six-year contract with a $5.25 million cap hit. Johansson was a rental and ended up signing a multi-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres in July. Still, the Bruins likely never get the chance to hoist the Cup if not for Sweeney’s wheeling and dealing. That helped land Sweeney the General Manager Of The Year Award.
Bruins get: Coyle
Wild get: Ryan Donato, conditional 2019 fifth round pick that became a fourth (traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets)
Bruins get: Johansson
Devils get: 2019 second round pick, 2020 fourth round pick
*Bruins lost to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final