To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Bruins announced on Monday that general manager Don Sweeney was re-signed to a “multi-year” contract extension.
That comes over a month after team president Cam Neely said that he planned to sit down with Sweeney and hammer out a deal. Eventually, it got done, three days before Sweeney’s contract was set to expire.
Despite the down-to-the-wire timing, there was little doubt over this past month that Sweeney would be back. Upon former coach Bruce Cassidy’s firing, Neely said in a statement that he had confidence that Sweeney was the man to conduct the ongoing coaching hire.
That doesn’t mean he didn’t have his reservations at points in the 2021-22 season. In his end-of-season press conference, Neely said that he wanted to see how the late season moves worked out before he re-signed the GM.
“To be honest, I really wanted to see how the year went,” said Neely back on May 19. “We had a lot of changes in the last offseason, so I just really wanted to see how that played out. Obviously, you get January, February, March – really good months for us. The team really came together. I thought we had a lot of depth and I was happy with what he did at the deadline.”
Sweeney’s big acquisition at the deadline was defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who then signed an eight-year, $52 million deal.
Interestingly, the first canned quote in the team’s press release announcing the signing was not from Neely but from Bruins’ CEO Charlie Jacobs.
“Under (Sweeney’s) management, the Boston Bruins have been one of the winningest franchises in the league and a perennial playoff contender year in and year out,” said Jacobs in the statement. “While we recognize there is work to be done to achieve the ultimate goal of bringing the Stanley Cup back to Boston, I’m confident that Don’s commitment to being best-in-class on and off the ice will help us climb that mountain once again.”
Sweeney’s most pressing issue is to hire a coach. As of now it appears that former Ranger coach David Quinn is the front-runner, with former Providence Bruins head coach and current Seattle Kraken assistant Jay Leach also believed to be a strong candidate.
Sweeney is also expected to sit down this week with Patrice Bergeron to discuss his future. According to multiple sources, the B’s captain does want to keep playing, for at least one more year.