BUFFALO -- Claude Julien and his staff will return to the Boston Bruins for the 2015-16 season, general manager Don Sweeney said Friday at the 2015 NHL Draft Combine.
"[Julien has] got great accountability, structure, he's had a lot of success," Sweeney said. "He's a veteran coach that I'm going to look forward to learning from as I stay in my new role. He communicated to me that they had already been thinking of some of the changes I had spoken about and he was looking forward to attacking that, and clearly that's going to revolve around some roster decisions as well.
"I think it's all of the above, and I'm going to lean on those guys, see what they bring to the table, and I'm hoping it's the other way around. And that was part of it for me, to make sure that they knew that my voice was going to be heard and respected in that regard."
There was a question whether Julien would remain when former GM Peter Chiarelli was fired on April 15 and replaced by Sweeney.
“I know there’s been speculation, so I want to make sure to put that to bed," Sweeney said. "I'm fully supporting this staff and looking forward to working with them all."
Sweeney played 15 seasons for the Bruins and spent nine seasons in their front office, including the past six as assistant GM.
"This is a new role for me. It's my first opportunity to talk with coaches as a general manager," Sweeney said. "I'm not going to apologize for taking a little time to go through that process, to be honest with you. I think it was right for me to do that. I've been completely respectful of their success, and I'm going to use that to my advantage because they've been part of a group and they work hard, and I'm going to look forward to enjoying it."
Julien has coached the Bruins for eight seasons and is the longest-tenured coach with one team in the NHL. He won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and the Eastern Conference in 2013. The Bruins missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season for the first time under Julien, who is 351-192-79 with the Bruins.
"There was certainly some adversity," Sweeney said regarding missing the playoffs. "There [were] some roster changes that had occurred over the last couple of years. We'd kept a group together that had a tremendous amount of success and each one of them should be proud of all that success, but we do have to move a little bit in a different direction and we're at a bit of a crossroads in that regard. They were anxious to know how their sort of coaching philosophies in what they addressed felt had to be changed and how that was going to be received by me and vice versa."
Sweeney said there is more to discuss with the coaching staff.
"We have some decisions to make still internally and we have to do that with the dates coming up (draft, free agency) and we'll be exploring every option to improve the hockey club," Sweeney said. "That's really what I told [the coaches], and they'll have input in terms of the guys that they think can continue to do things that they like to do as well as the things that we need to do going forward."