PITTSBURGH -- There's no doubt that the NHL Entry Draft heightens the expectations for every season, but given that the NHL's annual rite of passage directly precedes the Boston Bruins annual Development Camp and follows Patrice Bergeron's feel-good win of the Selke Trophy in Las Vegas, nobody could fault fans of the Black & Gold if they were following this year's selection process a little bit closer while they enjoy their summertime activities this weekend.
But even as the Northeast "enjoys" some balmy temperatures, things are getting even hotter for staffers in all of the NHL's draft war rooms, as the run up to tonight's first round gets shorter and steeper.
Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli and his staff have been working towards this moment since last season's draft in Minnesota, and given the B's early exit from the NHL Playoffs, there's a sense of urgency as the spoked-B looks to get on a roll when the 2012-13 season starts this September.
However, that urgency is not causing the B's to be hasty in terms of either trading players or picks.
"We don't really have anything significant going on with respect to the trade market right now," said Chiarelli, who indicated the B's might be more active on or after July 1 in the secondary trade market.
"It's actually quieted down a little bit in the last couple of days," explained Chiarelli. "We're all brave souls and say we have all these deals…and then when it comes down to doing them, everyone quiets down and everyone starts focusing on the draft.
"That's what we're seeing right now."
What Chiarelli is not seeing in the first round is a reason to move up from the Bruins' 24th spot on Friday night. The GM amended earlier comments in regard to the depth of the Draft, and allowed that the pool might get pretty shallow in the later rounds.
But Chiarelli also said that his team's chances of moving up in Round 1 remain about 20-percent and there are teams that are looking to move down in the order - but it doesn't sound as if that is a likely scenario for Boston.
"Intuitively, I can't get my head around it yet to move down," said Chiarelli. "I doubt we'll move down."
Beyond the draft, Chiarelli did reiterate his own belief that the B's roster is in good shape.
"I don't want to say 'comfortable' because I never want to be comfortable," explained the B's GM. "But I'd be very content if our roster now is the roster that we go into [next season with] - really content."
"I like the spot that we're at right now."
And Chiarelli also said he liked what he heard from his players during their exit interviews earlier this offseason.
"The motivation factor is going to be quite high," said Chiarelli. "You know these players well enough, and you talk with them on a regular basis.
"When they say that, I believe them."
Thomas Waives No-trade Clause
Chiarelli also said that Tim Thomas has cooperated with the B's in regard to a possible trade and he has received inquires about the two-time Vezina Trophy-winner.
"He has given me a complete waiver of the no-trade clause," said Chiarelli. "He gave this to me a week, week and a half ago, so at the very least he's being cooperative in that sense if we decide to trade him."
Beyond that, Chiarelli indicated that there was no change in the situation, however he conceded that at times Thomas has sounded 100% certain in terms of taking the year off, sometimes he has not.
That said, the B's GM still sounded as if he was working under the assumption that -- one way or another -- Thomas will not be in Black & Gold next season.
Chiarelli said "more than a couple" teams had inquired about Thomas so that they could make the salary cap floor and a couple of squads asked if he was coming back.
"I told [them] the same stuff I tell [the media]," joked Chiarelli, who said that it's not outside the realm of possibility that the B's would trade Thomas even if he was not to play.
"When you look at it, there's 5-million dollars, which is the cap it, that a team doesn't have to pay," explained the GM. "So, yes, I think on that basis, there would be interest."