Boston Bruins mess up again by extending Don Sweeney

Boston Bruins general Manager Don Sweeney Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Bruins general Manager Don Sweeney Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Bruins offseason seemed to finally be turning the corner when reports came out that Patrice Bergeron had decided to return for the 2022-23 season. After the firing of Bruce Cassidy, and several players undergoing surgeries that will keep them out to start the season, it was the ray of sunshine Bruins fans had been looking for since the 2021-22 season had ended.

And yet, it all came crashing back down this afternoon when it was announced that general manager Don Sweeney had signed a multiyear extension to remain with the team. If there’s somebody to blame for Boston’s recent inability to build a Stanley Cup contender, it’s Sweeney, and this is another big mistake in an offseason that has already been full of them.

Don Sweeney has proven he cannot turn the Boston Bruins into a championship team

The Bruins have watched many of their great teams over the past decade come up short in the playoffs time and time again. Ever since their Stanley Cup win back in 2011, the Bruins have wasted numerous opportunties to get their veteran core another title. And much of the blame has to fall on Sweeney.

I already looked at this a bit when explaining why Cassidy was the wrong guy to get fired a few weeks back, but Sweeney’s inability to build a complete roster has been the primary culprit when it comes to Boston’s inability to win over the past decade.

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Poor drafting has put this franchise in a really difficult position. Ever since Sweeney took over as general manager, there have been only three players to earn consistent minutes with the team. One of them wants to get traded (Jake DeBrusk), one of them he refused to hand the starting goalie position over to (Jeremy Swayman), and the other is one of the best defenders in the league (Charlie McAvoy).

It would be OK if this was over a two or three year stretch, but no, this has come over a seven-draft stretch with Sweeney at the helm. That’s disgraceful drafting. Sweeney hasn’t been able to find talent for this team, and it’s a big reason they are trying to ride out an aging veteran core to another title.

If the Boston Bruins want to try to build a contender and give it one last run with Bergeron, that’s fine. But the bigger issue is what happens when Bergeron retires. What will Sweeney do? He’s already proven he can’t draft, and once the remaining top players from the roster are gone, this team is going to fall off a cliff, and fast.

Sweeney hasn’t been able to build up an already successful team, so why do the owners seem to think he will be able to orchestrate a rebuild? There’s really no justification to keeping Sweeney around at this point.

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Firing Cassidy is OK, but the owners and front office are clearly trying to pin everything on him, which just isn’t going to work. Cassidy may not have been the right guy to lead this team, but the issues for the Bruins are deeper than that. And until they get Sweeney out of the front office, those issues won’t be resolved. This extension will only exacerbate those issues, and it would take a miracle for this deal to not end poorly.