Don Sweeney Explains Why Bruins Placed Zac Rinaldo, Max Talbot On Waivers

BOSTON — While most of general manger Don Sweeney’s pregame news conference Sunday focused on the the Bruins’ ongoing efforts to re-sign Loui Eriksson, Sweeney also touched on the status of two other Boston forwards: fourth-liners Max Talbot and Zac Rinaldo.

The Bruins placed Talbot on waivers Saturday and did the same with Rinaldo on Sunday, one day before the NHL trade deadline.

“There’s certain times a year when you have an opportunity before deadlines to create flexibility,” Sweeney said. “Both those (moves) represent that. I’ve had talks with both players. Zac is playing (Sunday night). There are plenty of players that have gone on waivers and nothing has happened. In both counts, that might be the case. But we have certain deadlines we have to adhere to. In order to create flexibility with some of the discussions we’ve had, that was something we had to do. As difficult as those conversations are to have, you have to have them and do what’s best for the hockey club.”

Rinaldo, who was indeed in the lineup against the Lightning, entered Sunday with just one goal and two assists in 51 games for Boston. That’s not exactly the type of production the Bruins were hoping for when they traded a third-round draft pick for the 25-year-old last summer, but Sweeney argued Rinaldo has had a positive impact on the team despite his underwhelming numbers.

“I still believe that Zac is a player that we needed — the type of player that we needed,” Sweeney said. “Did I know that Tyler Randell would be able to come in and fill a gap? Did I think Landon Ferraro necessarily would come in and fill another gap? No, those are things you don’t necessarily have a feel for before the season started.

“I felt that our team lacked energy at times last year, and I think Zac has done a good job in that regard. Has he produced to the level maybe he’s capable when you watch him in practice every day? No — he’d probably be the first to tell you that. But I think his game has certainly come a long way (from the standpoint of putting) himself in questionable situations. Even penalties he takes now, most of them are borderline calls on a lot of occasions. I think he infuses a lot of energy. He’s been used on the penalty kill a little bit — again, something he can probably grow at because of the way he skates, the courage that he has. I think it’s infectious for our club. He’s fit in well. We’ll see whether somebody else thinks that. We might lose that asset, and we’ll go from there. But it allowed us this deadline for flexibility’s sake.”

Talbot, who did not play Sunday, has two goals and four assists in 36 games this season.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Boston Bruins center Zac Rinaldo

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