There he is folks… Don Sweeney’s first “mistake” as general manager of the Boston Bruins. Go ahead, say what you gotta say. Let him have it. Don Sweeney traded a 2017 3rd round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for Zac Rinaldo just a couple weeks ago.
So what do we have on our hands here? Zac Rinaldo is officially an NHL veteran with 223 NHL games played over four seasons with the Flyers and only 8, yes 8, total goals to show for it. He is an agitator, pest, borderline cheap shot artist that drives other teams nuts. He often drives his own teams fan base nuts. But if you’re a Philadelphia Flyers fan it doesn’t take much to set you off the rails.
Really what it boils down to for Bruins fans with Zac Rinaldo is two things; the price Don Sweeney paid for him, a 3rd round pick, and his behavior. First, the price Sweeney paid was too high. And that will constantly be hanging over him. I know Ron Hextall hasn’t been an NHL general manager too long, and I know most 3rd round picks don’t pan out, but he fleeced even a less experienced GM in Sweeney by getting that pick out of Boston for Rinaldo. Rinaldo himself was a 6th round selection in 2008. And he’s generally represented himself like one in his on-ice career.
His behavior? That’s questionable as well. He was suspended this past January for a cheap shot on Pittsburgh Penguins mid-fielder Kris Letang (I refuse to believe the highly skilled Letang plays any defense, he’s a middy). It probably was the biggest loss Pittsburgh dealt with all year. He also is known to take penalties in an emotional, bad timing kind of way.
So… can he actually contribute to the Boston Bruins? I actually think yes. I tend to agree with witty writer Kevin Paul Dupont’s analysis of Zac Rinaldo. But my reasoning; the Bruins fourth line last year literally brought nothing to the table until they acquired Cam Talbot. They were atrocious. They didn’t hit, they couldn’t score, and they gave up goals. Rinaldo will bring jam, fire, and hitting that a fourth line is supposed to bring. If Rinaldo, at a young 25-years-old, is willing to tone down some of the antics to play Bruin hockey and buzz the ice, hit, engage, and log a clean 8 minutes a night then that energy will be worth it. If he’s going to let his emotions get the best of him and go all kamikaze then when the 2017 draft comes around and the Bruins 3rd round pick is missing Rinaldo will probably already be on another roster or in the AHL.