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Peter Chiarelli Transcript Following the Trade Deadline on 3/2

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS TRADE DEADLINE QUOTES

Monday, March 2, 2015

BOSTON BRUINS GENERAL MANAGER PETER CHIARELLI TRADE DEADLINE PRESS CONFERENCE AT 5:00 PM ET
Opening Statement from Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli:
Going into this deadline, we identified some needs, obviously. We’ve tried to address these needs. A couple of injuries that have happened maybe put us in a different direction, and notwithstanding some injuries, we also — specifically on defense — the exercise that we went through was the depth defensemen that we looked to add: Do they equate to the depth players that we signed in the first place? And we made a conscious effort this year to see if that was the case. We had chances to add a lot — a number of different depth defensemen, and in the end, we didn’t. So as an aside, that was our rationale, but we ended up acquiring a couple of good additions, in my mind. The first one, a deal was consummated last night around 12:30 — or this morning at 12:30 — was Brett Connolly, who has been a former high draft pick and still is quite a young player. For a number of reasons, he was available — mainly the excess supply of right wingers in Tampa. I had been talking to Steve Yzerman for the summer and most of the year on him, and his play is really starting to pick up. He was a slow starter since his draft, but his play is starting to pick up. He’s a big kid, he’s about 195, 6’2”, has a very good wrist shot, very good release, good hockey mind, starting to learn the nuances of the game, and we believe that there’s a very good upside with this player. The player we acquired today was Max Talbot, and that was in exchange for Jordan Caron. We also acquired Paul Carey, a former BC boy. We gave a sixth-round pick in 2016 as part of this deal, and they retained half the salary as a part of this deal. He’s a, I think, a $1.8 [million] cap hit, and he’s got another year next year. I talked to Max earlier today, and he’s excited to come here. I would characterize him as a glue guy who has played in a lot of playoffs, plays all three positions, is a gritty guy, plays all-out, and we believe he’s a good add to our forward group. We looked at other deals; we lost Craig Cunningham on waivers today. We put him on for the reason that we were in on a couple of other deals, and our tightness to the cap necessitated putting him down or putting him in a deal or putting him on waivers, notwithstanding. So unfortunate to lose Craig; he was a good depth guy for us here, but he’s going to have an opportunity to play in Arizona for the remainder of the year, so that’s good for him. Again, you’ll have questions, but in summary, this last season leading up to today has been tough, as far as getting a trade done, getting any sort of transaction done. It’s hard for a number of reasons. For us, we’re obviously under a cap crunch, but it’s just hard to get a deal done, and you see that the prices are so high that it makes it prohibitive — and that’s really why we ended up going towards Connolly rather than a rental. We looked really across, throughout, the forward rental market. He’s a young guy, he’s going to be with our group for a while, we will control his rights, and he’s going to grow into a good player, and he can help us now. So looking to the future, but also to the present, and that’s necessitated by the prices, and what we looked at is if we’re going to spend the picks that we spend, let’s look at all options, not just rental options.

On whether the defensive depth is better than what he could have acquired at the deadline…
Well, yeah, and there were other defensemen that were better than that group of better depth defensemen that were available. There were some contingencies attached that I didn’t like on some of the D, and really — in fact, getting Connolly opened it up a little bit, from that perspective. But when you look at what Joe Morrow’s done for us, when you look at what David Warsofsky’s done for us, when you look at what Zach Trotman’s done for us, and even Chris Breen — he hasn’t been up, but we signed these guys for depth. We tell them, You guys are depth guys. We didn’t sign Joe for depth, but when you sign back, they want a chance. So part of it is owing to them, part of it is doing that exercise that I mentioned to you about — looking at the cluster at kind of six, seven, eight defensemen, then comparing it to what we have. So that was the rationale behind that.

On whether there was an effort to push for a top-four defenseman…
We discussed it and looked at it, and felt that we owed it to our group — not just the existing group, but the group beneath them. Listen, if I could fill every need, I would. It’s no surprise, or no revelation, that our D — by losing [Johnny] Boychuk and by losing [Kevan] Miller — our D is not the same as what it was. But having said that, it gives these other guys an opportunity to play, and we felt that that’s the direction we should go in.

On whether the prices that emerged on the market on deadline day made it tempting to trade certain players on his roster…
As far as trading guys? Not really. I feel that we have a team that will make the playoffs, and if you can get in, when you get in, anything goes. So we talked about it, but I didn’t — we didn’t — really go down that route. In fact, we never went down that route.

On making moves that have an impact right now rather than moves that help in the long run…
Well certainly, we’re all under pressures — every one of us, whether it’s managers, journalists, for scoops and stuff like that — we all face certain pressures in our life. You’re a professional, and you do what’s best for the organization, and that was the case here. But certainly, the perception is that we’re under the gun, but this is my ninth year here, and we talked to other managers, and if they want to gouge you, you just don’t do it.

On Brett Connolly’s ceiling…
I see a top six forward and then if you look at all his goals he’s a shooter. I think he’s a shooter first. He’s a net front guy. He’ll go and get goals at the top of the blue. He’s a rangy guy. He makes plays but he’s a shoot first guy. I really like his release and he’s young and he’s growing. He’s going to be a top six player.

On comparing Connolly to Rick Nash…
Yeah he’s got some of that rangy element as far as handling the puck and [Rick] Nash is a shoot first guy. There’s some similarities. Obviously if he turned into Rick Nash that would be great. This is a high pedigree player and they have a lot of offensive players in Tampa and they have a lot of right-wingers and that’s why he was available. As I said we felt it would be a good add, not because—there’s a future for him here. We’ve done rental players and they’ve worked and some haven’t. The fact that you’re adding to bolster your group is a positive thing and we felt this is the right way.

On where you see him fitting in right away…
On what line? I haven’t had the complete discussion with our coach.

On where you envision him…
What’s the difference between that question and the other question? He’s going to play in our lineup, whether he’s going to—it’s a little different right now because we don’t have [David] Krejci in our lineup so there’s other things that are bubbling up, whether it’s the play of [Ryan] Spooner or [Brian] Ferlin or [David] Pastrnak and will he bump out Pastrnak? I don’t know. I can’t give you that answer now. We’ve had discussions, I haven’t sat down specifically, we just basically have done these deals so you talk with your coach and you find out where he fits in.

On how Max Talbot affects Greg Campbell’s position…
Campbell’s very close. And Talbot, it doesn’t—if your suggesting that I got Talbot because Campbell might be out longer, that’s not the case. He’s close.

On them both potentially fitting on the fourth line or not…
You know what, we’ve got three young guys that we did they’re called—we burned recalls on, which means that following this deadline we can send them back down. So there’s an element of flexibility that we’ve incorporated into these transactions. Sop we want to see how these young players develop and how they play and so far I’ve liked what I’ve seen. Doesn’t mean we’re going to hang our hat on any of those three young players and it doesn’t mean that they wont get bumped out on occasion. Doesn’t mean that they wont be down and back up. So its kind of a work in progress the forward group so to answer your question, we expect him to be in the lineup at some point. He’s a glue guy, he plays any position, left wing, center and right wing. Were going to get injuries too.

On how much discussion was done on larger hockey deals…
There was talk. You guys people probably heard names in there. Yeah there was talk, sure. I think across the board when the Kane deal came down it kind of got everybody thinking a little more. They’re hard deals to make. Its just the reality of the economics, it’s the reality of the cap, it’s the reality of the parity and they’re hard deals to make. You want to try and leverage the timings, if you’re going to go that route, if you’re going to explore and this is a leverage moment because it’s the deadline, but those are hard deals to make.

On the teams success if you make a push…
Well, they’ve been through a lot of adversity. I think the young players have grown and will still make mistakes but have grown and will continue to grow. I think we’re a good team.

On recently reexamining your core and thoughts on redefining your core…
Well, Kevin, I don’t think id be doing my job if I didn’t always think about ‘is that a area where we should change, is that an area we have to look at’? that among other things are things well look at. When Joe asked if I looked at hockey deals as far as—I don’t know if you mention the core but we did.

On any groundwork laid down for future moves…
Yeah, there’s always discussions. You always end up getting into an area where, ‘he what about this in the summer? Would we talk about this? And this is what I’m going to try and do in the summer’. Yeah there were areas there. To your question too Kevin, that’s where you start building on notions and ideas and concepts for that type of, I wouldn’t call it an overhaul but at least a different look.

On whether there are any college free agents, Europeans or unsigned draft picks are players that could develop quickly…
No. I don’t think so. Linus Arnesson might come over after his season, but he’s not ready — he’s a defenseman. He’s not ready to play on our team. College free agent crowd — it’s ok. I don’t know; we’re not really head over heels over it, so I wouldn’t say so, off the top of my head.

On the importance of protecting and keeping the Bruins’ first-round draft pick as the trade deadline approached…
It was important. We were in on the [Antoine] Vermette deal, and we were in on other deals, and I didn’t want to do it. It seems every year — notwithstanding that they say that the draft is a really strong draft, and I’ve been out there, and it is a really strong draft — it seems every year that what you used to be able to get with a fifth-round pick is now a second-round pick. I don’t know why; I mean, I’ve talked about a number of reasons why, but I don’t know exactly why that’s happened. At some point, maybe that turns into a late first-round pick. The second-round pick now may be a late first-round pick. We’ve seen those thrown around pretty freely.

On whether giving up a first-round pick was the breaking point on some deals on Deadline Day…
Well, it was never really — it was never really something that I would entertain, and it was said, If you do this, you have this chance. That’s the thing — you never… When you’re in the rental market, there’s always a little more you have to give.

On whether it was necessary to waive Craig Cunningham as part of a prospective deal…
Yes.

On whether the Bruins ended up making said deal…
No.

On whether the asset in question for said deal had to be Craig Cunningham…
That’s what we decided, as a group. It’s tough, but that’s what we decided as a group.

On whether he feels that he has done enough to help this team achieve success heading into the final 20 games…
I feel that we’ve improved the team, and as I said, I think this is a good group, and some years, you don’t win the Presidents’ Trophy; some years, you finish sixth or seventh; some years, you don’t make the playoffs. Incumbent that we make the playoffs — and you have down years for reasons that I won’t get into, but you all know why, sometimes, you don’t, and sometimes, you do. We’ve tried to improve the team; we feel we’ve improved the team, and we hope for a good run coming up.

On how problematic the rental market was, with high prices being paid…
How problematic? Well, like, it’s just expensive, and if I were doing it, I would take the same stance. And there’s just so few players available and, again, that’s a function of the parity. You look at – even going into last night, teams were undecided if they were going to trade a player or not, because they wanted to see where they’d fall. So I don’t know if problematic is the right word, Joe, but when you’re trying to maintain a balance, when we’ve played some players big dollars and it’s important to have the players that are going to fill in going forward, and that’s a real template, general template, in this hockey economy. And that’s what you’re trying to uphold and maintain.

On looking at potential defensemen to acquire and the difficulty of them adjusting to the system…
Well you know what, that’s a good point because I was going through the D that we’ve acquired before on a rental basis, and as a manager, it’s like a comfort level to have that core of surplus D, I’ll be honest with you, that’s how it feels and it’s instinctive to try and say, ‘I got to get a D, I got to get a D, I got to get a D’ but this year, we’ve tried younger guys up front, we’ve used younger guys on the back end, and you know what? I know I added on the front end, but we’ve also got the younger guys up front, so I felt that these guys [defensemen] – we’ve got them for depth, so let’s use them for depth.

On if he poked around for a backup goalie at all…
We talked about it. We talked about it.

On the 2:00 a.m. trade announcement for Connolly…
I certainly didn’t plan that, but when you’re in this business and you’re trying to placate factions and trying to close something, you do whatever you can, and I really felt that that was the deal to make at that time and I’m very happy with that deal. But you know, sometimes you’re like oh, let’s deal with it in the morning, but no, we had to get it done and Steve [Yzerman] had another deal that he was doing and we had to wait for that deal and it worked out, but I’m a little groggy today.
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