In fifty-plus years of following hockey and the Boston Bruins, I can’t recall a fanbase so divided when it comes to Boston General Manager. With Don Sweeney, there are two extremes: one that believes the 2019 General Manager of the Year can do no wrong and a second group that feels he should be replaced immediately.
Fans I’ve communicated with want to know the answer to a simple question: When did Sweeney know David Krejci was going home to play in his native Czech Republic and why didn’t he do enough to fill his spot on the Bruins second line?
As for Tuukka Rask, everyone knew there was something physically wrong with him going back to even before the playoffs, so it was no secret to Sweeney. But did he know it would require surgery?
Let me tackle the Rask situation first.
Sweeney had ample time to address the goaltending issue and signed Linus Ullmark to a deal on the first day of free agency. Now, we can debate all night long whether it was the right move or not, but the fact of the matter is no one will know until the players hit the ice and start playing in some meaningful games.
What I can tell you is that a very trusted source confirmed that there was a deal on the table and Rask was ready to accept that deal until it was determined that he required surgery. At that point the Bruins GM had no choice but to find an alternative and revisit the Rask situation when he was deemed healthy to return.
The fact that the Bruins signed Ullmark to a four-year deal worth $20 million raised some questions about revisiting the Rask situation at a later date. Add to that, Ullmark was given a full no movement clause in the first two years of the deal followed by a 16 team no trade clause in year three and a 15 team no trade clause in the final year, it should make one wonder, barring a full collapse, how are you going to bring Rask back? Especially if Jeremy Swayman continues on his other worldly development curve!
Another trusted source confirmed there was a contract awaiting Krejci as well. All DK46 had to do was make his decision on whether he wanted to return to the Bruins or play in the Czech Republic. We all know his eventual decision but everyone wants to know when Sweeney knew. Chances are, we’ll never know. It’s safe to say that one of the first calls Krejci made was to long time teammate and Captain Patrice Bergeron. Bergy is all class and he’s not going to discuss Krejci’s personal life publicly. Unless one of his other teammates let the cat out of the bag, we are not going to find out.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last dozen years, you should have known this day was going to be upon us as Krejci has long discussed playing in front of family and friends back home. And yes, Sweeney should have known as well. Now, we are left with “center by committee” as Sweeney so eloquently put it.
Or are we?
The Bruins have been linked to Arizona Coyotes pivot Christian Dvorak for weeks now, including by yours truly. But the cost to acquire Dvorak is astronomical. Yotes GM Bill Armstrong is rumored to be asking for a first round pick plus a prospect in return for Dvorak, who has four years remaining on his deal with a cap hit of $4,450,000.
The Yotes have interest in ‘one of the Bruins NCAA prospects.’ Who that prospect is, well that is yet unknown. If it’s one of the B’s higher end prospects like Mason Lohrei, then I too balk at that trade.
The NHL offseason is in a lull at the moment. And sometimes these things are revisited at a later date. Maybe then the asking price might come down.