The Boston Bruins packed up operations after the NHL draft and moved on from Chicago with a half-dozen kids in the system they hope can help three or four years down the road.

Now it’s time for General Manager Don Sweeney to turn his attention back toward the more pressing issue – improving his team for the fall.

It won’t be easy.

Sweeney’s quest for a left-shot defenseman proved fruitless at the draft, but chances are he’ll make another run at a trade leading into the opening of free agency at noon on Saturday.

The acquisition of a left-shot defenseman is not imperative but would make their blueline six-pack fit together a whole lot better. As of now, the Bruins have two left/right pairs that make sense in Zdeno Chara/Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug/Adam McQuaid. But Kevan Miller would likely be forced to play on the left, keeping rookie Charlie McAvoy on his natural side.

Miller played on the left side a bit last year and it wasn’t a disaster, but he’s clearly a better player on the right. And after the Bruins protected Miller in the expansion draft, it seems logical that they want to put him in position to succeed. Still, staying pat on defense might be the team’s best option.

The Bruins were linked to Minnesota’s Marco Scandella over the weekend, though it’s not clear just how interested they were. Scandella would represent a big-time commitment to his remaining three-year, $4 million per year pact, especially if the Bruins feel good about lefty prospects Rob O’Gara, Matt Grzelcyk, Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon.

Sweeney could look back toward the desert, where the tables may have turned a bit on Vegas GM George McPhee. Before the expansion draft, he did a great job of procuring draft picks from teams wishing to protect players. But now he has a surplus of defensemen and has to trade a few.

One of those defensemen was dealt Monday night when the Knights sent Marc Methot to the Dallas Stars. Nate Schmidt, a 25-year-old restricted free agent who played for the Capitals last season, might have the most upside of anyone on the Vegas roster, so it would likely take a lot for the Bruins to pry him away from the Knights.

That leaves Jason Garrison, Alexei Emelin, Luca Sbisa, Brayden McNabb, Clayton Stoner and Jon Merrill as possible trade candidates. Maybe Sweeney sees something there that he likes, maybe not.

Sweeney can start talking to free agents this week before the signing period opens, and there are two perfect candidates to fill spots on the Bruins from the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Left-shot defenseman Trevor Daley and third-line center Nick Bonino both could fill holes. Daley, though, will be 34 in October and is known more for his offensive skills and mobility than his defensive prowess, and sometimes struggles against big forwards.

The 29-year-old Bonino, a Connecticut native and Boston University product, would seem like a good replacement for Ryan Spooner if the Bruins decide to move on from the restricted free-agent center. Spooner’s days in Boston seemed numbered when he was a healthy scratch in the playoffs.

The question facing both potential signings are the usual ones – term and money. And champions tend to get paid. The Capitals’ Karl Alzner hits the market, too, but he’ll be looking for a big deal on his first foray into unrestricted free agency.

Perhaps the best alternative is to stick with what the Bruins have, re-sign restricted free agent Joe Morrow as a seventh defenseman and hope O’Gara or Grzelcyk is ready. Remember at this time last year, there was a desperate need for a right-shot defenseman, and then Carlo showed up to camp.

The Bruins displayed an upward trajectory when they made the playoffs, but make no mistake, they are still very much at a crossroads. With divisional rivals Toronto and Montreal figuring out ways to improve, especially on the back end, Sweeney’s next moves, or non-moves, could be critical to the Bruins’ continued path up the hill.