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Wait and See

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli preached caution as the B's entered into the NHL free agency period (which begins on Friday) and said that his relationship with B's free agents Tomas Kaberle and Michael Ryder is still intact despite not signing them prior to their hitting the open market.

"There’s certainly no finality to our relationship," said Chiarelli of the defenseman. "What we’ve agreed to, with Tomas and his agent was that he was looking into the market and we’ve continued to talk with him.

"We’re doing the same with Michael Ryder," added Chiarelli of the forward. "We certainly haven’t parted ways."

However, the B's are looking to "maintain" what they had on the roster of the Stanley Cup Champions -- even with the retirement of Mark Recchi and possibly the loss of Kaberle and Ryder to free agency.

"Now, can I improve that or maintain it going into the open market?" asked Chiarelli rhetorically. "I think I can.

"I’m not in a hurry to do I’m not going to be part of that of that first flurry."

So B's fans looking for a big splash tomorrow will most likely be disappointed.

"I’m a little wary of the market, first and foremost," admitted Chiarelli. "The cap is high and the cap is certainly going to come down in some shape of form.

"Two, and a close two, is that we do have guys we want to resign. And they’re going to command raises so I’m really not in a position to go out and give a guy a big term contract. I think we can find that help elsewhere.

"Other than those big term contracts and still be in a good position to resign our guys as they come up in the next year or two," he said.

Chiarelli, asked about the quality of players on the market said, "There’s not the supply that there normally is.

"Demand is greater because of the cap floor and teams have to spend."

As such, quality players will be tough to track down.

"I see generally older players available and I see very few impact or significant players," explained Chiarelli. "So you have to resist sometimes, at least I feel the need to resist, going out and giving these guys, they’ve earned the right to get what they get, but I feel the need to resist to give them the extra term or the extra dollar and that’s what ends up happening.

"There are some good players out there," added Chiarelli. "But I look at it and there’s not a lot of names that jump off the board."

The B's already have a plan in place, but that plan might not come to fruition immediately.

"I have a big whiteboard in my office and I have our interest list and I have our secondary list," he said. "Just because they’re on our interest list doesn’t mean we’re going to go off and sign them, but certainly we’re going to explore them.

"And I’ve crossed off names."

Three names that haven't been crossed off are B's restricted free agents Andrew Bodnarchuk, Stefan Chaput and Brad Marchand, who have been tendered qualifying offers.

But one name that won't be part of the B's plans going forward is Shane Hnidy.

"With respect to Hnidy, we’ve told Shane that we aren’t resigning him," he said. "I think he’ll be a good addition somewhere else and I told him that.

"And certainly I’d help him along the way for that."

With summer well on its way, Chiarelli said he is well aware of how little time remains in which to prepare a Cup defense.

"In my exit interviews with our players, I told them keep your eye on the calendar, this isn’t a typical summer," he said. "We’re prepared to face a challenge from the quote unquote hangover perspective to start the year. And we certainly want to deal with it in our preparation of the players and kind of our themes going into training camp.

"As far as shaking up the roster, I’m not going to do that, you know we won the Stanley Cup, we do have some good players that are still young. And you know we’ve got things that we’ve talked about, the Kaberle’s, the [Michael] Ryder’s...the [Mark] Recchi’s, we have to look to replace those guys somehow in some shape or form.

"So that’s kind of our task at hand," he said.
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