(Source: BostonGlobe.com) – The Bruins will not qualify Brett Connolly, Landon Ferraro, and Ben Sexton, making them unrestricted free agents as of Friday. The three forwards would have been restricted free agents and under the Bruins’ control had they been qualified by Monday’s deadline. The Bruins have not ruled out re-signing any of the three forwards, according to general manager Don Sweeney. In March 2015, the Bruins traded two second-rounders (2015 and 2016) to Tampa Bay for Connolly, the former No. 6 pick from 2010. Connolly had nine goals and 16 assists in 71 games last season.
I’ve created a keyword shortcut in my iPhone so that when I type the letters “p-a-m” it will auto-fill “poor asset management” because I think we’re going to be using that phrase a lot this summer.
The Bruins have opted to potentially let a guy go after one unsatisfying season of service on the cheap ($1 million) who cost them TWO valuable 2nd round picks to acquire. And they may let another go who they wisely grabbed on the waiver wire this past season and proved to be a great all-around utility player.
I get why most hated Brett Connolly. I was in his corner and felt in time it would click. And it is no excuse when I say I’ve never seen a hockey player more snake bitten around the net in my life than Connolly was for the Bruins. He was robbed so many times, largely by the post, that it almost became comical. But in the NHL all that matters is results and he didn’t get them. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s on pace for a 20-goal season on his new team next year like he should have been in Boston.
Wit’s his big frame at the ripe age of 24, and cheap asking price, I’d still rather have Connolly around as a depth wing option. And why, if the Bruins were ready to move on from Connolly, couldn’t they have forecasted the change and at least got a 4th round pick or something in return for him from another team? Did they forget what it cost to get him? Letting him walk isn’t the best look. This isn’t something that they just decided to do while waiting in the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru Monday morning.
Maybe the B’s know Jimmy Vesey is on the way and this is one way that easily clears space on the wing for him.
I can’t help but wonder if there’s a part of this move beyond Connolly’s play where there’s some dick measuring going on and Sweeney looks at Connolly as a Chiarelli problem since he was the GM at the time burning prized assets to get the long shot player. Maybe Sweeney wants to make a point by eliminating #14 while the Jimmy Hayes problem he himself created is going to get a pass this summer.
Landon Ferraro on the other hand, may be back. Although unlikely I just feel the Bruins and him may still keep that option open. He’s not as good as Patrick Eaves, but his versatility reminds of him in the sense that it seemed like Claude could throw him into a lot of different situations and he handled himself well. Whether is was the penalty kill, or 3rd line, or Bergy line fill-in, he seemed effective. And for a league that is increasingly getting faster, Ferraro was one of the few on that 2015-16 Bruins roster that could wheel with the competition.
The truly scary thought is by this weekend we may soon be adding Lee Stempniak and John Michael-Liles to the Connolly led “rentals-for-lost-draft-picks-on-a-team-that-had-no-shot-that-could-have-used-picks-(with Loui)-to-get-a-great-defenseman” file.
I’m not saying Connolly or Ferraro are essential pieces to help the Bruins get back to a contender status and that they shouldn’t go. What I am saying is most of the moves over the last year or so came with a significant cost, and show no sign of a clear organizational plan. It’s like their just flying by the seat of their pants and hoping one of these moves sticks.
I’d probably leave that last part out in my sales pitch to Steve Stamkos.