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Don Sweeney emphasized development in coaching hires

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney (right) constantly touches bases with coach Claude Julien on staff matters.bill sikes/AP file/Associated Press

New Bruins assistant coach Bruce Cassidy, formerly the head coach in Providence, will run the Boston defense from the bench as Doug Houda’s replacement. Jay Pandolfo, the team’s former director of player development, will fill the eye-in-the-sky role executed by Doug Jarvis.

The development background of both of Claude Julien’s new assistants was critical in their hiring.

“Claude and I have been discussing, in an ongoing manner since I was hired, about his staff as well as our roster,” general manager Don Sweeney said in a conference call Wednesday. “Teaching, communication, development, reinforcing of structure, and how we expect our players to play were topics we kept coming back to in our discussions.

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“This restructuring in a collaborative effort will provide Claude with a group that will reinforce how we want our team to play.”

Jamie Langenbrunner, who was a first-year development coach in 2015-16, is under consideration to replace Pandolfo. Kevin Dean, Cassidy’s assistant, is a leading candidate to assume the head job in Providence. The Bruins will interview external candidates for both positions.

One of Cassidy’s blue line charges will be Kevan Miller, who was re-signed to a four-year, $10 million extension on Tuesday. Sweeney referred to Miller’s 159-game NHL portfolio as a reason for his expected improvement.

“We identified that we think Kevan has room for continued growth and development,” Sweeney said. “We saw that in his play this year when he had an extended role.”

The Bruins would like to add a puck-moving defenseman. Because of the scarcity of free agents that fit the criteria, a trade is the likelier scenario.

Sweeney also said he continues to negotiate with forward Loui Eriksson, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.


Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.

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