Belated Trade Deadline Thoughts

Another trade deadline has come and gone for the Bruins. Another disappointing trade deadline has come and gone for the Bruins. Disappointing in that GM Peter Chiarelli didn’t swing the BIG DEAL many fans were hoping for. He didn’t get Jordan Eberle, or anything of that magnitude. But he also stood pat for the most part, despite the fact that his job is likely on the line.

And you have to respect that. Most of us would have done the opposite. Hell, safe GM’s like Glen Sather in New York, Bob Murray in Anaheim, and, of course, Marc Bergevin in Montreal were very active, and a reasonable case could have been made that they were the ones who could have done nothing.

But that’s the rub. Those teams have a reasonable shot at at Cup, or at least playing for one, this year. So they should have gone for it, even if, in the Rangers’ case, they won’t have a first round pick for like 5 years. The Bruins likely do not have a reasonable shot at a Cup this year. So what Chiarelli did was likely the right move.

That doesn’t mean he wasn’t trying, though. According to this ESPN.com story, Chiarelli was among the most active GM’s leading up to the deadline:

“When you talk to other teams around the league, what they say is that nobody was on the phone more than Chiarelli in the two weeks leading up to Monday’s deadline, trying all he could to get the pieces he was looking for.”

All well and good. Until you hear more about some of the trades Chiarelli has been working on this year:

“But even as far back as on the eve of the season, back in early October, the Bruins are believed to have offered Ryan Spooner and a second-round pick for Stewart. Murray decided to wait for a better offer. And again, the Sabres GM could very well have got that better offer in other years, it just didn’t play out that way this time.”


Two things here. 1. That is an insane offer for a stiff. 2. Buffalo should’ve taken that offer in a heartbeat.

This is the problem with Chiarelli. He seems conservative, and in many ways he is. But he also seems somewhat impulsive. For proof, we offer you that deal, the Boychuk trade and the Tyler Seguin deal.

Conservative and impulsive is not a good combination, in case you were wondering.

So even though Chiarelli was making a lot of calls, one has to wonder why no deals aside from Brett Connolly and Max Talbot got done. A few theories:

1. He was unwilling to pay the prices. Fine. Can’t blame him there. Although all of the prices weren’t prohibitive. Exhibit A is Edmonton defenseman Jeff Petry going for a 2nd and condtional 5th. To Montreal. That is a decent piece to add to a defense that is one injury from Zach Trotman suiting up for the playoffs.

2. He is gun shy. And rightfully so after hair trigger deals for Boychuk and Seguin. He might be afraid of making a big move for fear it doesn’t work. And that is bad if you are a GM.

3. The deals will be there in the summer. Many thought that prices will be lower in the summer, but I disagree. Good deals are out there, and for proof one has to look at the James Neal and Ryan Kesler trades from last summer. Neal went for Patrick Hornqvist in a deal that has worked out for both teams. And Kesler went for Nick Bonnino and a 1st in this year’s draft. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Chiarelli saves bigger deals (Eriksson, Seidenberg, Lucic) for the summer. He won’t have much of a choice in order to sign some of the important RFA’s this team has.

4. Deep down, he knew this team had no shot. Chiarelli, and the players, can say all they want about “just getting to the playoffs” and “anything can happen.” It’s true, to a certain degree. But it’s also about matchups, catching teams at the right time, and luck. Right now the Bruins would play Montreal, and none of those scenarios fit here. Sure, Max Talbot could harass PK Subban to oblivion, Tuukka Rask could negate Carey Price (note I’m not saying “outplay”) and Montreal’s first real struggle this season could come in the first round. But do any of you expect that to happen?

Chiarelli saw this year as some sort of transition year. What he did not see was under-performance from just about everyone and injuries. But that doesn’t excuse some of the decisions that have been made, like trading Boychuk and giving away Matt Fraser and Craig Cunningham for nothing.

Add all that up, and it’s no wonder the Bruins are in the position they are in.

Tough decisions have to be made this summer, and who knows who will, or should, be making them.



Lifelong Bruins fan whose hockey career peaked in high school. Now a hockey dad.

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