February 28, 2011

Quiet deadline day just fine with B's GM Chiarelli

by Jesse Connolly

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. (Getty)

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli had already done his so-called "heavy lifting" a week prior to the NHL's trade deadline.

 After acquiring Tomas Kaberle, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly in three separate swaps, the B's general manager was content with having a quiet, Monday afternoon while many of his counterparts throughout the league scrambled to hammer out trades before the clock struck 3:00 P.M. on the East Coast.

 "We don’t really have much to report from today," said Chiarelli, who gathered with the media in Ottawa where the Bruins are set to take on the Senators on Tuesday.

 "There wasn’t much activity on our part today. We talked to a couple of teams, and we felt that we did most of our stuff within the last couple of weeks. So today was a quiet day."

 The GM did make two small deals, however. Veteran tough guy Brian McGrattan and d-man Sean Zimmerman were sent to Anaheim in exchange for fellow minor leaguers Stefan Chaput and David Laliberte.

 In a second swap, the B's acquired goaltender Anton Khudobin for Providence defenseman Jeff Penner and the rights to restricted free agent Mikko Lehtonen, who left the team's AHL affiliate last summer to play in Sweden.

 Otherwise, Chiarelli's phone remained fairly quiet throughout the day.

 "Most of the stuff this year happened in the last two weeks," he said. "Today was, I think you’ll see, it was generally a quiet day relatively speaking, when you look at what’s happened before. And there wasn’t, if you look at today’s deals there was a couple of higher end players that were traded.

"Maybe three in total from that perspective, and then there was a lot of kind of minor deals. But the numbers weren’t close to what they were in the past."

 Chiarelli noted how his fellow GM's got a head start on the trade front, reconfiguring their respective squads well before February rolled around.

 "It was happening from three months ago," he said. "Guys were just seeing that the guys wanted to get their deals done earlier. It probably speaks to the scarcity of players I would think, and the tightness of standings, but mainly towards the scarcity of players."

 Reflecting on the players that moved today, the GM had no qualms with who he decided to acquire.

 "We’ve done three deals where we’ve added three good pieces," said Chiarelli. "There has been some subtraction, but we felt that the net benefit was very positive. There wasn’t anything that, when you look back in hindsight after doing the three deals that I was saying, wow that would be a good one to do. No, there wasn’t anything like that.

"We wanted to do our deals in advance enough that the players could join the team, be part of that Western swing, and they had to be the right players. And we felt that we accomplished both, timing wise and player personnel wise."

 That Western swing has gone extremely well for the B's thus far. Boston won all three tilts to improve to 5-0-0 on their current road trip, and will to make it a perfect six-game swing tomorrow night with a victory over the Sens.

 "I thought the Calgary and Vancouver games really showed how important the additions are on a number of different fronts," said Chiarelli. "I think you saw the skill from [Rich] Peverley, scoring or not scoring. You saw the versatility from Peverley and [Chris] Kelly on the face-offs and the forecheck. And of course [Tomas] Kaberle I think has just really changed the dynamic of our back-end."

 The GM has high hopes that a long playoff run lies ahead.

 "The chemistry now has to fall into place, and the drive to the playoffs has to fall into place," Chiarelli said. "And then success in the playoffs. But we felt it was a real good first step, and I was happy we were able to do it when we did. I thought that was important."