FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - As former Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli welcomed Connor McDavid to the Edmonton Oilers, his successor started remaking his team.
"He built most of it," Don Sweeney said of Chiarelli. "As of today, it's not necessarily the case going forward."
The Bruins shook up the NHL draft with two major trades before it even got under way. They sent defenceman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for three picks and left-winger Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings for another first-rounder, goaltender Martin Jones and prospect Colin Miller .
According to Kings GM Dean Lombardi, Sweeney had been calling around about moves since he took the job in May. Lombardi said Boston "had chosen its direction" and that direction was obvious change.
Just don't call it a rebuild.
"Our expectations are to make the playoffs, absolutely," Sweeney said. "With our goaltending, with a core group of our guys, our strength up the middle of the ice. We had players that didn't score to the level they were supposed to last year.
"Are we going to continue to look to improve our club? Absolutely."
Friday wasn't a good night in the immediate future of the Bruins.
With three consecutive picks in the middle of the first round, Boston took Czech defenceman Jakub Zboril from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Saint John Sea Dogs, left-winger Jake DeBrusk from the Western Hockey League's Swift Current Broncos and right-winger Zachary Senyshyn from the Ontario Hockey League's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. If they turn into productive pieces in the future, the 2015 draft will make Sweeney look like a genius.
Right now it looks like a major risk for the Bruins, at least on paper, who are weaker without Hamilton and Lucic. Next year's team will be younger, something Sweeney sees as a part of the organizational makeover.
"Clearly we have to integrate our younger players in our lineup and do a better job, be patient with them while they continue to develop at the National Hockey League level," he said.
Sweeney mentioned the day he was promoted to replace Chiarelli that he wanted to build a faster team. That's a departure from the style the Bruins used to make the playoffs six straight seasons and win the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Coach Claude Julien, retained by Sweeney after Boston missed the post-season for the first time since 2007, supported Sweeney's moves Friday.
"There was some tough decisions to be made, and to me personally I'm pretty impressed with how he's handled it," Julien said. "Those are the moves that probably had to be made, obviously with the situation we're in with the cap and everything else and the future."
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division, the Buffalo Sabres made two trades to accelerate their winning curve, getting centre Ryan O'Reilly and forward Jamie McGinn in a blockbuster with the Colorado Avalanche and goaltender Robin Lehner from the Ottawa Senators.
Buffalo gave up the 21st pick for Lehner and a second-rounder, defenceman Nikita Zadorov and forward Mikhail Grigorenko for O'Reilly and McGinn. But getting O'Reilly, Lehner and No. 2 pick Jack Eichel made it good night for the Sabres.
More trades are expected to get done on the second day of the draft and others could drag into next week and then July. The New York Rangers are expected to deal goaltender Cam Talbot, and in a related note, Chiarelli said the Oilers will get a goalie at some point either through trade or free agency.
The Chicago Blackhawks could be busy, too, as they try to shed salary most likely in the form of Patrick Sharp and maybe Bryan Bickell. Sweeney implied the Bruins won't stand pat the rest of this off-season after their eventful day.
"We're going to look and continue to listen," Sweeney said. "We're going to get in a position to improve this hockey club now and going forward."
Follow @SWhyno on Twitter