By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Don Sweeney and the Bruins are preparing for the 2018 NHL Draft as if they’ll have a first-round pick, like always. But the trade that brought Rick Nash to Boston sent their 2018 first-rounder (which turned out to be 26th overall) to the Rangers, leaving the Bruins without a pick until the second round in this June’s draft at the Dallas Stars’ American Airlines Arena.
That doesn’t mean the B’s are giving up on the first round entirely.
Sweeney told reporters during his season-ending press conference at TD Garden on Thursday that the Bruins are actively discussing their options to move back into the first round of the 2018 draft via trade. The GM acknowledged the long-term ramifications of going without a first-round pick, which isn’t something he’s likely to do too much.
“Obviously you’d like to have multiple picks,” Sweeney said. “When you’re left empty-handed [in the first round] you wonder whether or not, ‘OK, is there a move to be made that you can get back in there?’ I’ve had some discussions, so there could be [a move to be made]. It’s just, at what cost?
“‘But it hurts, it stings from a planning standpoint. There’s no question it impacts your organization. So I don’t think it’s in your best interest to do it repeatedly, and if there’s an opportunity [to recoup a first-round pick], I’ll explore it.”
Despite lacking a first-round pick as of Thursday, the Bruins will still plan accordingly in the event that Sweeney does get a first-round pick in a deal. They’re still planning on doing their usual scouting at the annual Combine in Buffalo and interviewing first-round-caliber prospects.
The B’s surrendered their first-round pick to the Rangers as part of the Rick Nash deal, and also traded away their fifth-rounder to the Winnipeg Jets as part of conditions from the 2017 trade that brought Drew Stafford to Boston. Here are the Bruins’ current draft picks:
— Second round, 57th overall
— Third round, 77th overall
— Fourth round, 119th overall
— Sixth round, 181st overall
— Seventh round, 212th overall
Obviously, it’ll likely take another big move involving an impact player in order for Sweeney to get back into the first round. Torey Krug has been brought up as a possible trade chip, including in an offseason column by The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa.
Trading Krug wouldn’t be an ideal move for the Bruins’ power play and offense on the back end, but packaging him may be the only way to feasibly net a high draft pick – or make an upgrade in their top-2 defensive pairings. As he said with the Bruins’ free agents and other offseason moves, Sweeney is exploring all his options at this point.
Here’s our own to-do list for Sweeney this offseason, which also includes re-tooling on offense and retaining backup goalie Anton Khudobin.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.