Following the Bruins' monumental collapse against the Flyers in the playoffs, General Manager Peter Chiarelli 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, despite saying he would not be active in the free agent market, most likely isn't done.
"I said going into this period that we would look at some trades, and we still would," Chiarelli told the media recently. "You let the market shake out a bit, and you have those conversations again and see where you go."
Since the season ended, the Bruins have re-signed defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk; acquired a scoring winger in Nathan Horton and energy forward Gregory Campbell from Florida; re-signed veteran forward Mark Recchi; drafted top prospect Tyler Seguin with the second pick, added six more prospects and traded Vladimir Sobotka to St. Louis for defenseman David Warsofsky at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft; and re-signed forward Daniel Paille.
As free agency hit on July 1, Chiarelli also planned on seeing how things shook out and how the signings would translate in the trade market that he admittedly planned to remain active in, at least in talks with fellow general managers.
"I mean it's going generally as I thought and the trades I may be looking at or discussing you have to see how the market ends up -- the primary market ends up, and then there are still players that are available that are signed," he said with regards to how free agency may influence what he does via trades. "That group of players, the market for those groups of players work in conjunction with the free market and you just got to be on top of it and speak with guys and where they are with certain players. It's an ongoing thing."
The Bruins also still need and plan to take care of some of their own restricted free agents as well. Forwards Blake Wheeler, Campbell and defenseman Mark Stuart were all given qualifying offers prior to the draft, but as of July 5 remained unsigned. While the Bruins are up against the NHL salary cap with an estimated $3.8 million to spend, Chiarelli was confident he could fit all three players in and sign them.
"I think we can get them back into the mix, it might be a little tight but I think we're in a pretty good spot," he said. "Again, I look to what they're asking and how we assess our other players and how they fit into our mix but I think we're in a pretty decent spot right now."
But while Chiarelli will still look to improve his roster via the trade market, he is pleased with how this busy offseason has gone and believes the Bruins will be a better team when they start the season in Prague, Czech Republic, in October.
"You're never happy -- you always want to improve," Chiarelli said. "But I really like the fact that we added Nathan Horton. I liked the fact that we were able to get a player -- and I don't want to put too much emphasis on Tyler [Seguin] at the beginning but he's going to be a real good player. We lost some puck moving in our back end, but I think Johnny Boychuk has come a long way and I think Matt Hunwick is going to turn the corner, I think Andrew Ference when he's healthy will be good. I think Stuey [Mark Stuart] is going to have a good year. I like the fact that we added Dennis Seidenberg.
"So I mean a lot of what we did was preemptive of this day. So if you look at it, we've added Dennis Seidenberg, we've added Johnny Boychuk, [Nathan] Horton and a young player who will come into his own and help us in the short order."