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Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli Pre-Draft Conference Call at 12:00 p.m.

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli Pre-Draft Conference Call at 12:00 p.m.



On what he is hearing out in the marketplace…

Well there’s a lot of new faces in GM chairs so I think as a result of that, there’s not so much these guys learning, they obviously have a lot of experience, it’s just feeling their way through the market. So I think maybe that has resulted in a little more activity than normal, a little more conversation than normal. You know, we’re on the - not quite on the eve of the free agent shopping period, but I think guys are getting a little bit heightened awareness as we enter that week period, or six, seven day period. You know, as far as – I think there is a general shortage of players. We’ve heard about a bunch of centerman, or at least I read about a bunch of centerman and we’re not in the market for any centerman. But I think that’s probably the biggest cluster right now. But you mention about defensemen, you know you look at - the free agent list is thin, I think they’re at a premium right now. So those names are being kind of bandied under the centerman but those are as important as the centerman sometimes. So they’re becoming a major topic of conversation.

On if there are smart moves to be made and smart money to be spent in free agency…
I think there always are. With free agency, it’s – you have to be prepared rightly or wrongly to overspend and to give more term than you probably would want to. That doesn’t mean you don’t make a good deal, it’s just the deal is probably pricier than you would like. So, is that a smart deal? Well, you know what the cost is going to be, it’s going to be over what you project to spend. You know what the term’s going to be, it’s probably going to be longer than you project to give. But there are good players available so if you can have your – if you and your team and your cap can handle that, then you’ve got a good player for a price that is high. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad deal, you just have to be prepared to spend that and you have to build your team around it. So I look at it that there are good players available, specifically us, we’re not going to go full force into the free agency, we’re probably going to take a step back and look at what may be lesser deals, meaning not high profile deals, might be available. Partially due to cap reasons, partially due to chemistry reasons. I think it’s just, you know, when you go in there and you are prepared and you know what you have to spend and you might be prepared to spend a little more or give a little more term and how that will impact your team. As long as the expectations are in place and you know the player that you’re getting – I wouldn’t necessarily call it a bad deal. It may be in five years if it is a bad deal, but it is something that can help your team and you just have to be cautious of the hysteria that happens.

On how discussions with Jarome Iginla have been going…
I’m not going to comment specifically on negotiations. We’d like to sign Jarome [Iginla] and that’s what I can say. I mean, he has been a valuable player for us, I think there is a good fit and we’d like to sign him. So I’m not going to, with all due respect, I’m not going to comment on negotiations. So, that’s what I can say.

On how the team is in terms of the salary cap and how the bonus overages is affecting the cap…
Well we’ve got an overage that will apply to next year and it is obviously going to give us a less, a not quite as high upper limit. So we’re going to have to make some harder decisions this year. It’s something that we’re prepared to do, we felt that we’re going to have – we can sacrifice this year a little bit because next year we’re going to have to – after this coming year we’re probably going to have to pay someone like David Krejci more, we need some more room. So this year, we’re in a lesser spot. We’ve got [Marc] Savard on LTI [long term injury], that helped soften the blow but we’re going to have to be a little more restrictive this year and we’re prepared to do that.

On if this includes any buyouts…
We’re not going to make any buyouts at this time.

On if the compliance buyouts could be a missed opportunity…
Yeah, I don’t disagree with you there, we’re just not going to use any. We are happy with the guys that are under contract to us and they’ve given us good service and I don’t really want to use them for those guys. But you’re right, their ability to, as you called it, a mulligan. But at this time we’re not going to use any.

On if he is expecting more movement as the draft comes closer and how he sees himself getting involved…
I don’t know if there will be more movement. I guess the other fact that you have to look at in that regard is generally considered, and I would agree, a thinner draft. So there is not as much value, relatively speaking, placed in these picks. So teams will probably be more apt to move those picks around. So you have some newer faces in the GM seats, you have the decreased value in the draft picks, so maybe for those reasons there might be more movement in and around the Draft. It’s always been a time to make a trade for a number of reasons but mainly because you can involve a draft pick that becomes a concrete player, like a player that you can see and track right away. So it makes it more appealing. You know what, in my years as a manager, there always seems to be heightened activity in the week to two weeks prior to the draft. So it’s the same again and it seems like we get the same amount of deals. As far as blockbusters, you know, sometimes there’s one or two. I couldn’t tell you, there seems to be more names out there now. I don’t know if that’s more social media or - in my discussions it seems to be the same other than the fact that I think the newer guys are trying to push their agendas a little more and rightfully so.

On if he would like to hold on to the first round pick…
Well everything is always available and I would include that first round pick. We’re lower down in the first round. We’re probably going to look at moving up a little or moving down a little depending who’s available at that time. I think we have a pretty tight list right now. I wouldn’t – again, I’m not going to say that it’s in play but I’m not going to rule anything out.

On if they built a similar team model to the LA Kings and if he still plans to tweak and not reinvent the team…
Yeah, well obviously the Kings winning the Cup – very strong team, winning it in two of the last three years. They are strong down the middle and they have strong defensemen and good goaltending. It’s not by accident that they won, they did have the three game sevens. You know, is it affirmation for the way that we’ve built out team? People can consider that. I like the way that we’ve built our team. We do have strong centerman, I’ve always liked the way LA has built their team. I’ve talked to Dean [Lombardi] over the years, we’ve exchanged notes, we’re strong and heavy. So it’s something that we will continue to do as far as building our own team and you know, again, I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak from this last playoffs. We had a very good team and with a little bit of tweaking I feel we’ll be right back where we were in the past.

On if the play from the prospects in Providence and college restores confidence that they are doing well with picking…
They are coming, the forwards are coming, you even look to our American League team this year and we had some pretty good performances from two of the guys you mentioned. Even three, [Seth] Griffith, [Alexander] Khokhlachev, [Ryan] Spooner, they’re all at various levels of development but the [Brian] Ferlins, the [Justin] Floreks, the [Matt] Frasers. There’s forwards that are coming and yes, you’re right, historically our D has been a little ahead of our forwards as far as development line. So, last year I thought we had a very healthy competition with some new forwards, including [Carl] Soderberg and Reilly Smith and I thought it really helped invigorate, or reinvigorate our group and this year I would expect the same thing.

On if Bruce Cassidy is an option for the Assistant Coach position…
Bruce [Cassidy] has done a terrific job, you speak of all those D that are coming through and now the forwards, he’s done a terrific job. I think, frankly I was surprised I didn’t get any calls on him after the year. We’re happy to have him in our organization. The vacant spot will be filled at some point in the near future and he will certainly be under consideration. He is at a level where what he does down there is so important and it may be that the significance of that position right now in the realm of our organization is more important for him to stay there. But I have had talks with Bruce [Cassidy] about this position and Claude [Julien] will have talks with him about this position and we’ll see where he fits in all this.

On how much their preparation for the Draft changes with it being Keith Gretzky’s first year…
As I said, I feel we have a real tight list. I think we’ve had some real productive meetings with Keith [Gretzky] at the helm and he’s got a different perspective on things but he also knows what the Bruins ideals are and kind of the ingredients that we want in players. I have complete confidence in Keith [Gretzky] in running this draft and we’ve got some real good guys behind him and above him that can really give him good lateral support. Like a guy like Scott Bradley has been terrific in that regard in giving Keith [Gretzky] tutelage and pointing him in the right direction and giving him support. So I feel good about our amateur group and I am looking forward to this draft.

On if they have five of the seven picks…
Yup.

On if there is any other UFA that he has told he will not be signing to a contract…
I am not at liberty to say yet. There may be one or two more, we’re just in the process of doing that right now.

On if he has made a final determination on the qualifying offers for the RFAs…
More or less we have. We have until the end of the month to get them out. So there may be a couple we hold in a base a little bit later. But we’ve pretty much made our decision. I’m just not going to disclose it, at some point we will but I am not going to disclose it today.

On if it is realistic idea that guys who have been part of the core might have to be traded away…
You can mix and match guys and who should stay and who shouldn’t. I’d like to, generally speaking, the decision on Shawn [Thornton] was a very hard one. He’s been here and part of this group for a long time and that would apply to all these guys who have been here and who have given us good service and that have been part of winning teams and Cup winning teams. So there will be hard choices but it may be that we don’t make hard choices and we keep as many people as we can and we go into the year and maybe we do make those hard choices as the year progresses. It may be that all these things happen at training camp, it may be that all these things happen in November. So to say these hard choices, not that you said this, but I think a lot of people think that these hard choices get made July 1st. Choices do get made July 1st, it may be that we can’t sign Jarome [Iginla], it may be that we go in a different direction, it may be that we can’t sign player X or player Y. We’re in the midst of making these decisions, we want to see how the market plays out. You know, I guess my point is that these decisions may stretch into the summer, they may stretch into training camp, they may stretch into November. So the common denominator is that they are hard choices, you’re right.

On if there is one thing that he has pinpointed or zeroed in on that he wants to be better at…
You know, there are little areas that you want to upgrade and that happens every year. I talked about, actually Mike talked earlier about some forwards are coming down through our pipeline. You’d like them to have an opportunity to play, at least try to play, because the energy – I think it provides energy, it provides young legs, it reinvigorates the rest of the guys. So you’d like to create that area for these guys to start their NHL career, we’d like to have spots open for them. As far as a specific style of play, the game keeps getting faster so that is the type of area where you want to – whether it is pushing the puck with your D and making it faster from the beginning, whether it’s from the attack a little more. So you want to make sure your tempo – you maintain or increase your tempo. Now, the Kings, I would say that we are on a level with them as far as team speed. They generate their speed starting in their own zone and that is what we try to do and it’s important that that speed gets up and running in your own zone. So that’s about a clean break out of pushing the puck and moving the puck. So it’s about maintaining or improving your tempo and that’s what we would look to if we were to tweak our team.

On losing Jim Benning and Geoff Ward…
Jim [Benning] was here from the beginning and he was one of guys at my side and managing and building and drafting and all that stuff, and a good friend too. So he has moved on to Vancouver and deservedly so. He gives a really good view point of the players, of our team, of other teams that’s very instructive to me and helps with decision making. He’s been in hockey a long time and deserves this posting and I’m really happy for him. He’ll be missed, we’ll be able to replace that position and there will be another opportunity – the way we – I feel that there is a real connectivity amongst our management group and I think to bring someone else in I think they are going to take a little time to get up and running but when they get in they’ll see that there is a real good level of conversation, discussion that they will be pretty excited to be a part of. So I feel good bringing someone into that group. As far as Geoff [Ward], Geoff had some good success with us. He had an opportunity to be a head coach and we weren’t going to stand in his way. I was really impressed with the way Geoff looked at the game, how he broke it down. I think he was – they had really good chemistry in hat coaching group. I think Mannehim is getting a good coach and coaching is about opportunity and Geoff wanted to be a head coach and it was a good opportunity. So I am happy to see him get that too.

On if he thinks he will have to move a contract in order to get the moves he wants to get done…
You know, that is a very broad question. I don’t – there are scenarios where we won’t, there are scenarios that we will. We’re restricted by those overages to a certain degree and we have lineups that we are very happy with without making moves and with making moves. So, I’m not going to tell you any more than that. There’s some things that we would have to move if we wanted to go a certain direction, depends on where we’re going to go. I have an idea of my preference, I’m not going to share it with you but there are certainly some moving parts right now.

On what he would like to focus on this weekend at the Draft…
Well it’s the Draft so I will be focusing on the Draft. If you’re suggesting that just the Draft – or if you’re suggesting how I am looking to deal with the Draft – I may. But my focus will be on the Draft, it will be on we’ve got some guys that are a little up on the list that we will try to move up. It’s hard to move up, you probably hear all the GMs say they’d like to move up. So just focusing on the Draft, refining the list, maybe there is some little teaks to that list that we will do in the next couple of days. You talk to GMs and I’ve been talking to GMs the last three weeks so I know kind of where things are. There’s obviously, there’s I think a big block of players, not a big but a block of players that are in play and I’m not in that. But often times when that happens, if something happens, if something breaks, something may fall in our lap that we’ve foreseen and maybe we make a decision. But the focus is on the Draft and I will kind of be on the periphery on the other stuff.

On how not going full force into free agency affect his approach…
It really doesn’t. For me, well, we haven’t brought any one in. I guess it’s only been the second year but we don’t plan on bringing anyone in. Doesn’t mean we won’t talk to anybody, I look at it as – celebrity dating, that’s interesting, maybe that’s what it is. Maybe it’s speed dating, is a better way of looking at it. So we’ll make some calls just to get an idea. Talk about parameters, what we’re allowed to do but at this time I don’t plan on bringing anyone in.

On if he is able to keep touch with his guys like Torey Krug
Absolutely.

On not losing control with players getting “wooed”…
Well, Torey [Krug] and Reilly [Smith], they don’t have the ability to – their free agency is a little different. They don’t have the ability to take any offers, that’s just the way they are because they both burned a year. But the other RFAs, yeah, no that’s stuff we’ll get to probably shortly after the first surge, early July.

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