Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli added some grit along his blue line Wednesday with the acquisition of defenseman Steve Montador from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for center Petteri Nokelainen.
Montador, who led the Ducks with a plus-14 rating and 125 penalty minutes, was one of three players to have appeared in all 65 games for Anaheim this season. Additionally, Montador, who has a plus-18 rating over his last 55 games, has posted 6 assists in the last 13 contests.
The 29-year-old native of Vancouver, who signed as a free agent with Anaheim last July after spending three seasons in Florida, has also registered 4 goals, 20 points, 84 hits, 51 blocked shots and a career-high 100 shots from the point. He's also earned time on the club's power-play and penalty-killing units. Last season, the eight-season veteran set career highs in goals (8), assists (15), points (23) and power-play goals (2) with the Panthers, ranking second among Florida defensemen in goals and points.
The trade comes at a time when the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins (42-13-9, 93 points) are in a bit of a tailspin, dropping eight of their last 11 games and allowing 2.54 goals per game while going 3-5-3 over that stretch. The team currently sits first in the League with a 2.19 goals-against average.
During a conference call with the media last week, Chiarelli did admit he might be a player at the deadline.
"You have to weigh the player or players that you're moving out and the player or players that you're moving in," he said. "I guess part of that is the blend of experience. Really, it's the significance of the player that you're adding, and is it worth what you're giving up in the long run. You talk to your coaching staff at length about the room and how these players will interact and how they will react. These players all want to win and be part of a winning team. Your have look at it very carefully."
Montador might have been made expendable after Ducks GM Bob Murray took one of their prominent names off the trading block in defenseman Chris Pronger earlier in the day. The star blue liner has one-year remaining on a five-year deal.
Nokelainen, who had been sidelined seven games with an eye injury he suffered on Feb. 10, was recently cleared to play. The Finnish center has posted three assists and sports a minus-1 rating in 33 games with Boston this season.
The 23-year-old Nokelanien, drafted 16th by the Islanders in 2004, was dealt by New York to Boston in exchange for Ben Walter and a conditional 2009 second-round choice in September 2007. The 6-foot, 191-pound center had 7 goals and 10 points in 57 games last season.
The Ducks (31-28-6), 5-4-1 over their last 10, are currently tied with Edmonton and Nashville for the seventh slot in the Western Conference with 68 points.