The 2015 NHL Entry Draft will forever go down in infamy when it comes to the recent and overall history of the Boston Bruins.
On Tuesday, just under a week after Mathew Barzal and the New York Islanders Islanders sent the Bruins to their second-straight exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs after two rounds, Boston Bruins President Cam Neely acknowledged the lingering effects of that botched draft for the Bruins. Neely admitted that maybe he didn’t leave enough time for Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney to acclimate himself into his new role as GM after being hired just over a month before the NHL Draft.
“I’ve looked back at that a lot, obviously. I think the timing of when we hired Don and then the draft was taking place – would have been good I think to have a little bit more time between the hiring and the draft,” Neely pointed out. “Not to say that Don wasn’t involved in the amateur meetings, but he wasn’t involved at the time, most of the time thinking that he was making the picks. I think Don did everything he needed to do leading up to that draft to get three first-round picks. I thought the moves that he made were really good and poised to set us up for the future.”
Barzal torched the Boston Bruins for a goal apiece in Games 3, 4, and 5 of the East Division Final and finished the series with three goals and three assists. With three consecutive picks (13, 14 and, 15) in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Bruins passed on Barzal, forward Kyle Connor, and defenseman Thomas Chabot three times. That trio was off the board three picks after the Bruins took Zach Senyshyn 15th overall. They also passed on Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser, Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny, and Carolina Hurricanes superstar Sebastian Aho. Instead, the Bruins ended up with defenseman Jakub Zboril, winger Jake DeBrusk, and Senyshyn. They did save some face taking defenseman Brandon Carlo in the second round at 37th overall.
Neely was asked how much that draft still lingers over the current roster five years later?
“The guys put the list together. I think maybe during that time, we should have taken some time out – as everybody knows, we tried to move up in the draft. It didn’t work. We probably should have taken the time out and really just digested that list a little bit more,” Neely recalled. “Then there was a pick that one of our scouts really thought that the player wouldn’t be available in the second round. Obviously, hindsight is everything we’d all love to have. moving forward and thinking about making different decisions or better decisions, I guess. You can always do that in every draft though, no matter where you pick and how many picks you have.