Two signings of the past fifteen years stand out, perfectly exemplifying the knee-jerk, ill-conceived, panic-button-pushing manner with which this roster has been historically replenished: forward Martin Lapointe, whom they signed during the 2001 offseason, and centerman Alexi Zhamnov, who came to Boston after the 2004-05 lockout.
The case for Zhamnov:
- Coming off the ’04-’05 NHL lockout, the Bruins were praised near-universally for their shrewdness: Boston’s large contracts were all coming off the books, and the team was left with nearly zero committed money going into the largest free-agent pool in years.
- Boston targeted two future Hall-of Famers with the money burning a hole in Jacobs’ pocket: Peter Forsberg, and Mike Modano. Both players ultimately spurned the Bruins–Modano to return to Dallas, and Forsberg to Philadelphia. Through this whole process, the Bruins made a major miscalculation: They were not counting on the fact that NO ONE wanted to go to Boston and work for Jacobs and the Bruins’ revolving door of goofballs behind the bench.
- Instead, to save face, Jacobs pressed the panic button and threw a 3-year, 12.3 million dollar deal at Zhamnov, the 34-year old one-time All-Star. As one of the highest-paid players on the team, Zhamnov quickly piled up injuries, and played a total of 24 games for Boston. He scored one goal for the Bruins.
- Oh, and they also threw a bunch of money ($4 million more) at Brian Leetch, and made his corpse the captain for a season. This year will be a rough one for the Bruins, but we must remember: It’s been far, far worse than this before.