BOSTON, MA – Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli said on Tuesday after the Black & Gold acquired Jaromir Jagr from the Dallas Stars that he would like to add some depth on the back end.
On Wednesday, just before the 3 p.m. trade deadline, the B’s GM did just that, acquiring veteran defenseman Wade Redden from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. If Redden plays at least one game in the 2013 playoffs, the pick becomes a sixth-rounder.
Redden, who played the first 11 years of his career in Ottawa, was surprised to be on the move, but is excited to return to the Northeast Division in the middle of a tight playoff race.
“I guess the first reaction was I was a little surprised,” said the former second overall pick in 1995. “I got the call from Doug Armstrong, the GM here in St. Louis. We had gotten a few defensemen here and I didn’t think anything was going to happen, and it almost went right to the deadline.
“But I was excited. I know Boston, a number of guys there very well. I’ve seen what they’ve been able to do the last couple of years. I’m excited to be a part of that team and help them out any way I can.”
While in Ottawa, Redden was teammates with Zdeno Chara and Chris Kelly, and Peter Chiarelli was the assistant GM of the Sens for a time during his tenure. The 35-year-old D-man is looking forward to reuniting with his old pals.
“Yes, excited for sure,” Redden said of being back on the same team with Chara and Kelly. “Obviously great teammates, and Peter was obviously thought highly of when he was in Ottawa with us. He’s done a great job there in Boston, too, since he’s been GM.
“I really know what they’re all about and what kind of people they are, so I’m definitely excited to be going to a team like that.”
Being so close to the hockey atmosphere in Boston, having spent so much time within the B’s division during his career, Redden knows how special it is to play at the Garden – especially with the playoffs right around the corner.
“It’s a great hockey town, obviously,” he said. “[The Bruins have] been real good for a number of years, there’s a lot of excitement around the team. This time of year is what guys play for and that’s the most fun time of year to be playing.
“That just elevates it that much more, being in a hockey town and being in a place where they’re so passionate about it. I think guys feed off that, especially that time of year.”
Redden spent the last two seasons in the AHL, before returning to the NHL with St. Louis this year. He said it has been a tough couple of years, but that he is feeling good of late and glad to get a new start in Boston.
“It was kind of a funny year all around, I guess, with the lockout and my situation after being away from it for two years,” Redden acknowledged. “But right off the bat it was exciting to come back, and it felt really good to be back. I played my thousandth game six games in, so it was kind of a real high and then it settled in and I was just kind of getting my feet under me after that.
“Lately I’ve been feeling pretty good,” added Redden. “I was in the lineup for most of the year, but lately had played a number of games in a row and felt pretty good. I was happy with what I was able to do [in St. Louis] and how I felt. Obviously, excited to back and looking forward to Boston now.”
The role Redden will be playing for the Bruins isn’t yet determined, but whatever that role is, he’ll be good to go.
“I think, obviously, they’ve got a pretty solid group back there,” Redden said of the Bruins D group. “[Chiarelli] just said that I’ll be ready to go and you’ll be called upon at some point. Chara obviously leading the way, and even playing a lot of big minutes, so I want to come in there and be a guy they can use in any situation they feel fit and do a good job in whatever they ask me.
“Whatever that’s going to be, I’ll be ready.”