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Annual pre-free agency conference call with Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli on 7/3

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS

PETER CHIARELLI CONFERENCE CALL
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
BOSTON BRUINS GENERAL MANAGER PETER CHIARELLI
On how close the team was to resigning Vincent Lecavalier…
I met with him, Joe, on Saturday evening. I thought it went very well. What precipitated that meeting was Nathan [Horton] telling me he was going to test free agency. I had a couple conversations with the agents following that and it was just, at the end of the day, it was something that I wasn’t prepared to do, although I did enjoy meeting with Vinny [Vincent Lecavalier].  It was just, at that point, I just made a decision not to go forward with it.

On how far off the grid he is thinking of going to maintain the chemistry of the Krejci and Lucic line and the team as a whole…
Well, I’m open to all avenues. Your point is a good one about the chemistry. That’s not why we didn’t proceed with Vinny [Vincent Lecavalier]. That’s not solely why we didn’t proceed. It’s one of the reasons as far as the natural winger perspective or the shooting perspective. We have a lot of things that we are looking at, Nick. We are going to interview a few guys in the next couple days in this new interview period. We got a couple of trades we’re looking at. It’s early on in the process. As for how far off the grid, I mean I’d like to think that we can be creative in filling these holes. We got a real good core. We plan to contend for a Cup again. I think we would attract some pretty good players too so it takes two sides to be creative. That’s something that we’d be looking at also.

On the urgency of signing players during free agency as opposed to taking time to contemplate who to sign…
Well, I think it’s a completely different ballgame this time around for a couple reasons. One you have this interview period so you have a sorting out, a kind of a market adjustment so to speak, period. You couple that with the cautionary approach as I believe that many of the teams will have for the sole reason that the cap is going down, and it will probably go up after that, but it’s not cast in stone. So I think there’s a general caution. There may be a rush on a few guys, but I just think this is the first time the cap has gone down so I think we’re in new territory. At least that’s how I feel and some of the guys I’ve talked to across the league feel the same way.

On if one can assume he is not looking at defensemen…
Yes, fair assumption.

On how the compliance buyouts affect free agency and how the interview period changes the game for general managers…
Well, there was a couple of big names. More than a couple of compliance buyouts. As a GM, you go through each team’s rosters and you make educated guesses who might be buyouts. For most of us, it wasn’t a surprise. In your mind, you plan a little bit as far as judging the market when those guys get on the market. They got on the market, so to speak, a little bit earlier from the time they were bought out until yesterday. It was a bit of a wave. When [Vincent] Lecavalier and [Daniel] Briere got out there, and as I said, so there’s a little bit of a bump until this interview period. All I know is that I’m approaching this interview period—I want to do some due diligence. It gives you the ability to get a sense of where these guys might be market-wise and the ability to see where the trade market’s going at the same time. You have to be conscious that what these guys think they are going to get in the market doesn’t mean they are going to get that because we can’t do any deals during this interview period. It’s interesting times for this system, and thinking about it driving in this morning, I think it’s a good period to have. It’s a bit of a cooling down period, a reverse cooling down period so that we can go into it with our eyes wide open.

On the overall strategy heading into the free agency period…
Well, I want to do a thorough sweep of those guys. With Nathan [Horton] gone, we got to look to our right side to see and assess how we are going to reconstruct the right side. We got some players from within that may be able to fill. I want to do a sweep of these players that will be available in trades and free agency. I’d like to think that we’re a destination for an older player, old relatively speaking, that wants a chance to win. So I got to canvas that. It’s about turning over all the stones and seeing—going through the free agent list player by player. We’ll have our guys in here. We met all day yesterday. We will meet again today. You make calls and you might and you gauge how the market’s going. You act when you think you have to act. General overview, but I’m going into it with the approach that we are going to be diligent in talking to these guys and seeing what the trade opportunities are also.

On the possibility of moving back to Jaromir Jagr…
You know actually we have thought of circling back. We told him we were moving on so he may have moved on also. It’s something that we may revisit. He’s on a list, Pierre, of a bunch of guys. I’d like to go into this, when I talk about reconstructing the right side, maybe we can get some youth in there too in addition to an older guy. When I say older it’s relatively speaking. It’s just older than a youthful player. It could be old now. 28 is the old 32. It’s all relative.

On [Jordon] Caron being involved in the reconstructing of the right side…
Absolutely, he’s apart of the equation. We qualified him, he’s plays both sides. He played a strong playoff Mike so he’s part of the equation without question.

On preferring face to face meetings with players or over the phone…
No, No it’s just impossible in two days to run all over the place. We’ll just have phone calls.

On other players from Providence that he is looking at for wings…
Well there are some guys I would. You know, there’s the – you could probably figure out what guys there are, that would have to have a strong showing at camp. I’m not going to hang my hat on them but they would need to have a strong showing at camp for me to look to install them permanently. So having said that, you might see an open roster spot going in to the camp. Which you know what, gives you some flexibility on your young guys, it gives you some flexibility on the waivers, it gives you some flexibility on the players that already got signed and on trade possibilities. So you might see that, I’m not sure. We’ve done that a couple time in my time here and you might see it again.

On feeling about the secondary market…
I don’t – not right now. I don’t have that feeling right now. There’s usually that market and I would anticipate just on shear economics because the caps going down that that market will probably be a little longer in time and a little more in numbers.

On if no Rask deal by Friday affects anything he’s doing…
I fee confident that we will get a deal done on Rask in short order. So to answer your question, I have a place holder number in there to work around as far as cap planning.

On if he is open to anything in terms of replacing Horton…
I’m—yeah I’m open to all options and alternatives. I’ll look at a number of different things like –when I say reconstruct the right side, uh, you know, we’ve lost [Jaromir] Jagr, which I’m okay with too. [Jaromir] Jagr and I had a good exit meeting, and Nathan [Horton]. So we’re looking to rebuild that right side.

On if Daniel Alfredsson is on a list of several players he has….
Well, I know I’m allowed to talk to these players. I don’t know if I can speak publicly as to those players that I am talking to so I’m going to have to defer comment on that.

On if the deal with Rask will be done by the July 5…
I would think before, but if it’s after I’m fine with it to. I know he would enter free agency but I’m confident regardless, either or.

On if he has reached out to other teams free agents this morning…
I’ve reached out to their agents this morning. I didn’t do it at 12:01 a.m. Pierre, actually I was sleeping. But this morning on my drive in I have talked to a couple of guys and I will continue to do that throughout the day and tomorrow.

On any decision about Anton Khudobin…
I prefer to keep that private for now.  I’ve had discussions with his agent, the discussions were contingent on where we’re going to end up with a couple of guys. My guess is he’ll probably go to market. Anton [Khudobin] says he wants to stay here and – but I’m keeping a close eye on it and constant contact you know, hoping that he can come back. But, my guess is that he’ll go to market but that doesn’t mean we still – we can still sign him if he goes to market, it will just be a little trickier.

On how the organization would deal with getting shut out on the right side…
Um, if I get shut out – I hope not to get shut out over time Kevin, whether it’s through trade. But we’ve got—I mean, right now we’ve got, we’ve got right wings and whether you talk about Tyler [Seguin], Rich Peverley, [Jordan] Caron, we got [Jared] Knight, we got—so we’ve got right wings, we’ve got some kids who can play both sides. So, we’ve got some players that can play, it’s just that when you lose the players of the caliber of [Nathan] Horton and [Jaromir] Jagr, you just have to look to try to maintain a standard that will help us to continue to contend. I’m not saying that those players that I mentioned aren’t up to that standard, but I just have to look at all options.

On Daniel Alfredsson’s price being higher than it was five to seven days ago...
I mean I don’t know if his price goes by the market activity. He’s, from what I know, about him, I mean, he’s a pretty principled guy. In the sense that he is a very focused guy, if he wants to go somewhere and play or stay in Ottawa, it’s not about the money. So, generally speaking, you’re probably right, but there’s maybe a few players that will sway that market upfront. But, the cap going down and the cap going down will probably bring it back down I think, but who knows.

On if he has been able to get to know a player and if he wish he could do that in the past…
You know, in two days it’s hard to try and get to know someone. Even if you bring someone in and you tour them of the city, like, most guys are good guys so its really hard—it’s hard to really get that knowledge that you think you might want You’ve got an extensive book on these guys, You’ve got an extensive network that you can tap in to, to find out more about them. I’m confident in group that we have that network of both front in place, so I like to have a chat with these guys and then you can hear it from them—you can hear it from them and their agents to really see where their interest lies in your team. They can hear it from as to where they fit in their team. So, it’s a good sorting out period it’s more of a fit I think. These guys are so well informed and educated as to teams, cap structures, as far as the cities and where they are going to be living –so I think its about the fit that they want to hear so in that sense I think it’s a good period to have.
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