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Bruins GM not ruling out trading draft picks

Boston general manager Sweeney will do 'anything to improve our hockey club'

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

BUFFALO -- The Boston Bruins were one of the busiest teams at the 2015 NHL Draft and could be busy again at the 2016 Draft in Buffalo.

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney addressed the media at the 2016 NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo and spoke what he's looking to do. The Bruins have two first-round picks, at No. 14 and the San Jose Sharks pick (either No. 29 or 30 pending the outcome of the Stanley Cup Final). When it comes to picking at No. 14, it's a debate whether to take a player at a position of need or the best player available.

"Selfishly you'd like to have the best of both," Sweeney said. "You'd like to identify the best player that you could possibly get and hopefully it's the position you need. We've addressed areas to continue to bolster within our organization and if the right player is there, we're going to be excited to take him with the pick."

The Bruins missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season and will pick in the same position this year as they did in 2015. The Bruins have three picks in the top 60 which could give them a reason to listen to offers.

"I haven't disguised the fact that we're open to doing anything to improve our hockey club," Sweeney said. "We addressed a lot of the things I needed to address last summer and I want to continue to do that through the draft and I'm committed to that through the development process. But we also want to improve our club so if they opportunity presents itself, we're going to do it."

The talent in the draft is deep at the top. Center Auston Matthews and Finnish wingers Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi are expected to be the top-three picks, but after that, it's not as clear. With a great number of highly talented players, the Bruins could be in shape to get a great player when they make their choice.

"The quality of the draft is good," Sweeney said. "I saw some really, really impressive kids over the course of the last four days and we feel very good with two picks in the first-round and one in the second-round that we're going to get very good players."

At the 2015 draft, the Bruins acquired the No. 13 pick from the Los Angeles Kings in a trade that sent forward Milan Lucic to Los Angeles and the No. 15 pick from the Calgary Flames for defenseman Dougie Hamilton.

"I didn't predict that it would go down that way last year," Sweeney said. "The opportunity, at times, presented to take care of some of the things that we needed to take care of and move in a different direction… We clearly wanted to get some cap flexibility knowing that it was likely going to stay flat. We were able to do that. But it wasn't a fun exercise by any stretch of the imagination. These players were good players and important parts of our organization and what we were able to address with some of the players coming in some areas addressed the future and we fell short this year."

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