In Depressed Economy, Put Your Stock in Chiarelli And Co.

by abournenesn

Jul 13, 2009

In Depressed Economy, Put Your Stock in Chiarelli And Co. Loosen the belt. By the looks of it, the recession is over.

At least that’s the general impression from the NHL.

Marian Hossa, 12 years, $62.8 million.

Marian Gaborik, five years, $37.5 million.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin, five years (each), $30.5 million (each).

Michael Cammalleri, five years, $30 million.

Martin Havlat, six years, $30 million.

Mattias Ohlund, seven years, $25.25 million.

Brian Gionta, five years, $25 million.

The list of hockey players jumping tax brackets reads more like the
Dead Sea Scrolls than a haiku. In other words, there are a whole lot of
newly minted skaters.

Add up every last penny, and close to $600 million has changed pockets in free-agent deals since the market opened.

Of that total, less than one percent has come from Causeway Street:

Mark Recchi, one year, $1 million.

Steve Begin, one year, $850,000.

Dany Sabourin, one year, $600,000.

Drew Fata, one year, $550,000.

Johnny Boychuk, undisclosed.

The Bruins aren’t going to blow anyone away with high-profile, name-brand power (they also re-signed Byron Bitz to a multiyear deal and added four minor leaguers). But don’t judge a club by the number of zeroes on its contracts — Georges-Pierre Seurat might have been able paint a masterpiece with dots, but he never had to build a Stanley Cup champion with a $56.8 million salary cap.

Nowadays, an NHL general manager needs to be one part talent
evaluator, one part economist, one part psychologist, one part chemist,
one part snake handler, one part salesman, one part gambler and one
part fireman. Other than that, the job is a breeze.

Peter Chiarelli has gotten pretty good at each role. And every year on his watch, the team has gotten a little bit better.

Just because the Bruins haven’t backed up the Brinks truck in
somebody’s backyard this July doesn’t mean they haven’t improved their
status as bona fide Cup contenders.

The Black and Gold were a fluke bounce away from advancing to the
Eastern Conference finals, and the only players they’ve lost are Martin St. Pierre (Senators), Shane Hnidy (Wild) and Steve Montador (Sabres).

Chiarelli and Co. still have hard decisions to make on Phil Kessel and Matt Hunwick. Whatever happens, trust they’ll get it right.

Now is not the time to start behaving like drunken sailors on shore
leave and make a regrettable or impractical move. The worst thing a
team can do is spend money it doesn’t have. That’s how the economy got
into this mess in the first place.

You can call the Bruins a lot of things, but fiscally irresponsible
isn’t one of them. Neither is cheap (as some would say was the case not
so long ago).

This is a new era. The Bruins have the makings of the big winner — and next season just might be the time their prudence gets rewarded with a duck boat parade.

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