Bruins hold developmental camp for draft picks
WIMINGTON, Mass. (AP) Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has had a busy rookie offseason since taking over for the fired Peter Chiarelli in May.
Sweeney traded defenseman Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic mostly for draft picks, selected 10 players at the NHL Draft last month and then signed one of the most coveted free agents, forward Matt Beleskey, on July 1.
As he attempts to turn around the Bruins after they missed the playoffs in 2014-15 for the first time in eight years, Sweeney might not be done changing the roster before training camp in September.
After the team put more than 30 prospects through the paces at the annual development camp for four days at Ristuccia Arena this week, Sweeney explained that he's still talking to general managers, agents and the Bruins' coaches about what the roster needs. Some players that performed well at development camp may be considered contenders for spots in the NHL, and there are still unrestricted free agents from other teams that Sweeney is considering signing.
The Bruins have around $4 million to spend under the NHL salary-cap ceiling.
''No, there's still players out there that may fit,'' he said Friday. ''And you have conversations with agents about possibilities. And I think we're comfortable where we are with creating internal competition. But I'm not going to stop sort of asking in areas that we can continue to look at.''
It's been a roller-coaster summer for Sweeney. Prior to the draft Sweeney's acumen was questioned because Hamilton, a restricted free agent looking for a big payday, went to the Calgary Flames for the 15th, 45th and 52nd picks in the draft. Later it was revealed Hamilton did not want to re-sign with the Bruins.
Sweeney also traded Lucic, who was entering the last year of his contract with an annual cap hit of $6 million, to the Los Angeles Kings for a package highlighted by the 13th pick in the draft.
Those trades gave the Bruins five picks in the first two rounds, which were used to select defensemen Jakub Zboril, Brandon Carlo and Jeremy Lauzon; and forwards Zachary Senyshyn and Jake DeBrusk. All five made it this week to development camp, which was run by Bruins development coach Jay Pandolfo.
Goaltender Zane McIntyre, who recently turned pro after being a Hobey Baker Award candidate with North Dakota; forward Danton Heinen, who was the NCHC rookie of the year while playing for Denver University last season; and 2014 second-round pick Ryan Donato, who will play for Harvard this season were among the other prospects on hand.
''I was really excited about sort of turning the page and looking forward to this week. And I don't think the players, I don't think Jay and his staff and direction, disappointed in any regard,'' Sweeney said. ''I thought the week was a big success.''
The Bruins have run development camps every summer for almost a decade in an effort to gauge where their prospects stand in terms of development and give them an idea of life in professional hockey.
McIntyre has been to six camps.
''I think it's been great, not only for my game but for myself as a person to grow and to experience these guys competing and to see what it takes to play at the next level,'' McIntyre said. ''It's been great every year. And then obviously being able to have that comfort with the brass as well, to go into training camp and feel relaxed and confident I think is the biggest factor that really helps here.''