I think it is too early to call it a mistake but there are quite a few questions I have about it. For one is Backes going to be able to hold up for the whole length of the contract or will his body breakdown? That is a serious question Sweeney and company should be asking themselves. On the other side I understand why Backes was brought in he fills a leadership role and can mentor younger players, along with bringing a physical game that the Bruins have lacked since the departure of Milan Lucic. Backes finished the year with 38 points which obviously isn’t much when you think about how much he is being paid but hopefully he can stay healthy all of next season and finish somewhere between 45-55 points.
Im high on all 3 for making Boston out of training camp but I will rank them in order from 1 being highest chance to 3 being the least likely.
- Bjork- I think this one is pretty obvious, Sweeney and company are extremely high on Bjork and reasonably so. There is a reason the B’s pushed so hard for him to sign prior to him heading back to school for his senior season and that is them thinking he can be the missing piece on Krejci’s left wing. Bjork finished with 21 goals, 31 assists and 52 points in 39 games at Notre Dame during his junior year season.
- JFK- This is me going out on a limb because there are some moving parts that will need to happen for Karlsson to make Boston out of training camp. First is Ryan Spooner has to be traded this offseason which I think all Bruins fans expect to happen. Once Spooner is traded there will be two options at 3rd line center and those names are Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Austin Czarnik, Czarnik is most likely more NHL ready but most people around the Bruins have said there was a handshake agreement between JFK and Sweeney that JFK will have the 1st opportunity to win the job out of camp and that was a big reason why Karlsson decided to leave school early to join the Bruins, that is why I give the edge to JFK over Debrusk. Karlsson finished his junior season at Boston University with 14 goals, 19 assists and 33 points in 39 games.
- Debrusk- The 14th pick in the 2015 draft enjoyed a solid 1st season of pro hockey last year and deserves a good look during training camp. Debrusk is another left wing option and most likely will battle Frank Vatrano for 3rd line LW. Vatrano obviously brings more experience and a dominant shot to the table but don’t sleep on Debrusk beating him out, Debrusk brings a physical game and good offensive skills to the table. Debrusk finished his 1st season in Providence with 19 goals, 30 assists and 49 points in 74 games, he also had a solid post-season where he put up 6 goals, 3 assists and 9 points in 17 games.
Brodin fits the Bruins defensive need the most a LHD who is young, under contract and is best suited as a defensive defenseman. This would also give Boston a top 4 of Brodin, McAvoy and Krug, Carlo (Not including Chara) which works well since on each pair you have 1 offensive and 2 defensive even though McAvoy looks to be great in both zones. I’m not sure what it will cost to get Brodin but he should be available if the offer is good enough. On the offensive side there are guys like Landeskog and Duchene who will cost quite a bit, both are great players but the B’s should stay away from both considering they aren’t truly cup contenders right now. There are a few other options on the free agent market guys like Marleau and Sharp but at their age and the contract they will be seeking Sweeney shouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot pole. The best option for the Bruins forward wise would be sticking to the youth movement and give guys in the organizations chances to win jobs.