Don Sweeney Takes Silver Lining From Bruins’ Failed John Tavares Pursuit

The Boston Celtics benefited greatly from a marquee free agent’s decision. Their fellow TD Garden tenants can’t say the same.

The Boston Bruins on Sunday saw free agent center John Tavares sign with their Atlantic Division rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was a tough pill to swallow for the B’s, who scored a meeting with Tavares but now must face his dangerous Leafs squad at least four times per season.

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney admitted as much Sunday but still took a positive out of the experience.

“I would’ve preferred (Tavares) not (sign) in our division,” Sweeney said in a press conference. “The overall process was a really good process and structural to have somebody else dive inside our own team, and we were thankful for the opportunity to present. (Tavares’ agent) Pat (Brisson) and his group and John himself were really good about it, and he was well prepared, and we felt we were.”

“We put our best foot forward and it didn’t fall our way. But, again, to be in that situation is something that our group should be happy about, and it’s probably a reflection of what we’re trying to do and trying to accomplish, but I wish it had fallen our way.”

While Boston failed to land the big fish, it still was invited to the fishing trip, which is something only five other teams can say. That bodes well for the club’s future pursuit of high-end talent.

“I think stylistically, to our coaches, to the organization, to the support from ownership, with this facility, overall, it’s a reflection of our entire organization, and I’ve said all along, it’s about winning,” Sweeney added. “That’s the mandate that we’re trying to put forward to all of our players, whether it was the development camp guys or the highest-level free agency players that we’re trying to attract.”

The Bruins also acquired some decent consolation prizes in free agency and should be well-positioned for a deep playoff run this season — even though they let the big one slip away.

Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images

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