SUNRISE, Fla. -- A standard line from Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien is he'll coach to the best of his ability the players management puts on the roster.
That philosophy will be tested in the 2015-2016 season and beyond.
In a 24-hour span, new general manager Don Sweeney traded Milan Lucic, Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg in three separate deals. When training camp starts in September, Julien will have a bigger challenge coaching the 2015-2016 team.
"First of all, you've got to give Donnie a lot of credit," Julien said. "He's come into this role, and there was a lot on his plate, a lot going on, and there were some tough decisions to be made. I'm pretty impressed with how he's handled it, and that's not to say I'm happy Doug Hamilton or Milan Lucic are gone. We just lost two pretty good players, but those are moves that probably had to be made."
Julien's job was also in question after the Bruins fired Peter Chiarelli and promoted Sweeney to his new post. Finally, after nearly two months of not knowing if he would return to the bench, Julien was informed he was staying.
The coach also knows that when a team has success, players such as Lucic and Hamilton want bigger and better contracts, but the cap-strapped Bruins couldn't handle those types of deals, so they moved on.
"They decided to make some decisions regarding the future of the Bruins, and they had to make those decisions, so I'm a coach that likes to have the support of upper management, so I'm going to be supporting upper management on that," Julien said.
"I'm the coach here, and I'm going to take whatever players we have, because there's obviously going to be some new faces, and we're going to make it work. I'm not looking at this as we're rebuilding -- not at all -- we're going out there next year to win hockey games and to be a real competitive team."
As far as Hamilton is concerned, losing a player of his caliber, even before he reaches his prime, probably doesn't sit well with a coach who relies so much on the defensive game. When the Bruins and Hamilton, a restricted free agent, couldn't come to an agreement, the organization moved on.
"As a coach, to be honest with you, I find it very unfortunate that players that have played maybe three years in the league all of a sudden are looking to be up there with the top-paid players," Julien said.
The coach said he preferred when players had to work their way up to earn big contracts, but Julien added Hamilton is in his right to want a better deal than what the Bruins were offering.
"I'm not standing here blaming him at all," Julien said. "Would we have liked to keep him? We would've liked to have kept Dougie Hamilton. He's a good, promising, young player, but you move on. We've moved on with others, and we have to move on in this situation as well."
Julien will always appreciate Lucic's contributions to the Bruins, including the 2011 Stanley Cup title.
"On the sentimental side, you have an attachment with a player like that," Julien said. "He's given us some good services to the Boston Bruins and given the Bruins the identity it always liked to have."
On social media, Bruins fans were disgusted with the moves made before the draft, but Julien attempted to put out the fire.
"Our fans are always going to be our fans," he said. "Sometimes it's frustrating to see those kinds of things [trades], but you've got to give it a chance. It's important to see where we're heading. There's a lot that can still happen until the start of training camp."