Give Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli credit. Following the Bruins' monumental collapse against the Flyers in the playoffs, he promised to be active in the trade market and to simultaneously improve the current roster while keeping an eye on the future. He has done just that, and most likely isn't done.
"I went into this last period of a month or so thinking I am going to be more active on the trade market and I think that's still the case," Chiarelli said. "The trade market is still from now until June 30 and then it extends beyond but there's a little shuffling with free agency on July 1. I will be involved and we'll see what happens."
Last Tuesday, Chiarelli went out and acquired a scoring winger in Nathan Horton and energy forward Gregory Campbell from Florida. Then on Friday, Chiarelli retained one of his best veteran leaders in Mark Recchi before drafting a future star in Tyler Seguin, whom Recchi can mentor. He then added six more picks on Saturday before dealing away center Vladimir Sobotka for defenseman David Warsofsky from the St. Louis Blues.
Chiarelli said that he was involved in other trade talks but most of the buzz died down unexpectedly. But the phones should be buzzing again Monday.
"They did [heat up] and then they died off," Chiarelli said of the volume of trade talks Saturday. "It's almost like 'I'll deal with it on Monday.' I was surprised."
The lack of available players on the free agent market has increased talks, and it could be a very active trade market as a result. Chiarelli pointed to the rights to defenseman Dan Hamhuis being dealt twice recently as an indication of the barren free agent market.
"The free agent market, it's thin," Chiarelli said. "You see the rights to a player being traded twice and that speaks to that."
There are also bound to be a lot more three-way deals in this new trade market with players being dealt within their division more.
"They're all three-way deals now," Chiarelli said. "Including intra-divisional trades because that's the reality now. I mean we had to play Phil Kessel six times. That's the reality. You see it more in the west than you do in the east but it's coming east."
Chiarelli wouldn't comment on Tim Thomas or Marc Savard reportedly waiving their no-movement clauses Saturday, but he did acknowledge that were he to try and move long-term salaries like that, the deals would be easier to consummate if teams were allowed to eat salary.
"At the start of that notion, I was against it but I'm leaning toward it now," Chiarelli said. "It's not because we may be moving guys or I'm moving guys, it's not because of that. I've been looking at it as a participant and also from 30,000 feet. Everything becomes very static and that's not good for anyone. I'm not lobbying for it to [NHL commissioner] Gary [Bettman] and the hockey ops staff because I understand why they don't have it. But certainly it would be something that I would support now."
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