Boston Bruins President Cam Neely is tired of the media and Bruins fans bashing Bruins general manager Don Sweeney for his failures at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. After he and Sweeney fired head coach Bruce Cassidy and then he signed Sweeney to an extension back in June, he has watched his GM and former teammate come under constant blame for the Bruins’ failures and that infamous 2015 NHL Draft performance.
“The narrative, quite frankly, is a little frustrating to me,” Neely replied when asked if he felt the constant criticism of Don Sweeney this past offseason was warranted.
The Boston Bruins, with three consecutive mid-first round picks (13,14,15), missed on future star players like New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal, Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor and Ottawa Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Instead, Sweeney and his staff drafted defenseman Jakub Zboril and forwards Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn. Zboril has been plagued by injuries, DeBrusk has been wildly inconsistent and Senyshyn isn’t even in the NHL right now. Neither Neely or Sweeney have ducked criticism from that draft and Neely is apparently done with re-hashing it.
“We’ve said it many times. From the draft perspective, we have missed on the high side, especially in 2015. And I’m tired of talking about 2015. But if you look at who the Boston Bruins have drafted from 2015 to 2018 … how many NHL games they’ve played, it’s among the highest in the league. So, the narrative is a little old for me.”
Instead Neely would like to see a new narrative focusing on Sweeney’s successful picks like defenseman Charlie McAvoy (2016) and starting goaltender Jeremy Swayman (2017).
“Every GM in the league makes mistakes,” Neely said. “We’re going to continue to make mistakes, but hopefully we learn from those mistakes and limit those mistakes, and I think Don has certainly evolved over the last few years. Our scouting staff has evolved. We certainly have high expectations and high standards, but mistakes are going to happen. I don’t think it’s as bad as the narrative is out there.”