Bruins Fans Need To Stay Patient In Free Agency

NHL free agency officially began at noon on July 1st and the Boston Bruins were one of the teams in the NHL that remained fairly quiet.

They inked Kenny Agostino, the 2016–17 AHL MVP, to a one-year deal to add depth on offense, and they signed Paul Postma to a one-year deal to being in some depth on the blueline.

For some Bruins fans, this has been fine. For others, it has a been a tragedy. Some impatient Bruins fans are asking if Don Sweeney knows that free agency has started. The answer to that is yes, he does know it has began.

This is the third free agency period of Don Sweeney’s tenure in Boston and his first two are ones that people in Boston want to forget.

Matt Beleskey (left) and Jimmy Hayes (right)

On July 1st, 2015, Sweeney dished out a 5-year, $19 million dollar deal to Matt Beleskey, who, in his first two seasons in Boston, has been very unworthy of the deal he signed. He also swung a trade for Jimmy Hayes from Florida in exchange for Reilly Smith and the contract of Marc Savard that day. Hayes was a restricted free agent at the time and ultimately signed a 3-year deal with an AAV of $2.3 million per season. After two upsetting seasons in Boston, Hayes had the final year of his deal bought out by the Bruins.

David Backes (Photo courtesy of CSNNE)

July 1st, 2016 was much of the same. Sweeney jumped out right away and signed free agent forward David Backes to a 5-year, $30 million dollar deal. Backes was not a total bust in his first season with the black and gold, but the reality is, he could have been better. He also was 32-years-old when he signed the deal, which meant he would be 37 by the time the deal was up.

The jury is still out on Backes, who is a talented player, but overall, Sweeney’s first two free agency periods as GM of the Bruins were nothing to be proud of.

As July 1st, 2017 approached, Sweeney let it be known that he was going to be patient. He didn’t have huge holes to fill and he wasn’t ready to jump the gun and sign a player to another ridiculous deal. What has his patience gotten him? Apparently some upset Bruins fans.

But here is the question to those fans, why? You are currently calling for his head because of his previous free agency signings. Now he doesn’t go out and sign a player to a bad deal and you’re still mad?

The Bruins are by no means a favorite to contend for the Stanley Cup this season, so yes, they need to get better. And yes, free agency is a way to do that. But with this free agent class, you won’t become close to a contender.

The Bruins two biggest holes are a left wing and a left shot d-man. At left wing the best options were guys like Scott Hartnell, Benoit Pouliot, Chris Kunitz, and Patrick Sharp. On defense, guys like Karl Alzner, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Michael Del Zotto.

Were those guys going to put the Bruins over the top? No. They weren’t.

So why waste time and money on them when you can let a younger guy develop? Or why sign them to expensive deals (not many signed for ridiculous money) when you can wait and sign a guy similar to them at a cheaper price?

It’s no secret that Don Sweeney hasn’t had the greatest success in Boston. However, blaming him for bad free agent deals and then getting mad at him when he takes a different approach shouldn’t happen.

Trust Sweeney. It looks like he knows what he is doing. The Bruins may not be the most attractive looking team, but they have young talent that is showing great signs of progress. You don’t want to stunt anyone’s growth because you decided to bring in an overpaid free agent. In the long run, it doesn't work out.