In a franchise-changing few hours, the Bruins traded defenseman Dougie Hamilton and left wing Milan Lucic Friday afternoon.
Even with Sweeney shipping out two of the Bruins’ top players, the newbie GM insisted he is not rebuilding a team that is just one season removed from a President’s Trophy and two removed from going to the Stanley Cup Final.
“Our expectations are to make the playoffs, absolutely,” Sweeney said Friday night. “With our goaltending, with the core group of our guys, our strength up the middle of the ice — we had players that didn’t score to the level they were supposed to last year. Are we going to continue to look to improve our club? Absolutely.”
The Bruins, though, were not improved on Friday, at least not in the near future. They traded two major talents under the looming threat of free agency and salary-cap constraints. With the re-signing of defenseman Adam McQuaid, the Bruins have $59,341,667 committed to 15 players for the 2015-16 season.
Although the Lucic trade was not a stunner, the Hamilton trade was a surprise. Sweeney met with Hamilton’s agent, J.P. Barry, Wednesday night in Florida, and had made what the general manager termed a “very significant contract offer” to Hamilton, one he believed was in line with comparable players. The Hamilton camp countered with a number that was not in the same region.