BOSTON – With the Boston Bruins ranked 12th in the NHL in goals per game entering action Tuesday night, and having scored two or fewer goals in six of its past seven games, general manager Peter Chiarelli did not halt his pursuit of offensive help after he was spurned by Jarome Iginla last week.
Chiarelli dealt a conditional 2013 NHL Draft pick and prospects Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne to the Dallas Stars to add the NHL's 10th all-time goal-scorer, Jaromir Jagr, to the team without removing a key piece of the regular lineup.
The Bruins, who started Tuesday in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and three points out of the Northeast Division lead, will surrender a second-round pick to Dallas unless they reach the Eastern Conference Final. If the Bruins win two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they'll surrender a first-round pick. Chiarelli thought he'd traded a similar package to the Calgary Flames for Iginla last week before the deal fell through.
"His career speaks for itself," Chiarelli said of Jagr in a news conference at TD Garden after the deal was made. "He's a strong player, protects the puck well. [He's] consistent with our style in the sense that there's a cycle element to his game. He's good on the half wall, really good release, shot. He's just a really good player. I know he's 41 now, but he's been one of their best players in Dallas, and last year he was one of [the Philadelphia Flyers'] best players. He gives us an element of offense; he gives us an element of size and shooting.
"In this day and age, this game, you have to have the strength, fortitude, body, whatever you want to call it, to get to the net, whether it's to get in position to take a shot or just to get there or to protect the puck. We believe Jaromir has that and we're happy to get him in this rich trade market."
Jagr, who's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, was leading the Stars in scoring with 26 points, including 14 goals, at the time of the trade, so the numbers show he can still produce despite his advanced age. While it remains to be seen where the Bruins will plug him in during 5-on-5 play, there's no doubt Jagr will be given every opportunity to improve Boston's 23rd-ranked power play. The Bruins' power play has struggled for several seasons, including during their run to the 2011 Stanley Cup championship.
"That's one of the things. He's a strong half-wall player on the power play," Chiarelli said. "He can roll off the top of the circle and really fire a wrist shot and make plays. That will help us out on the power play."
Chiarelli said he spoke to Jagr's Czech countryman David Krejci, an Olympic teammate in 2010, and Boston captain Zdeno Chara, a Slovakian who has battled Jagr for years, for their input about Jagr's ability to fit in on the team. More important, Chiarelli let Jagr know what the expectation will be when he hits Causeway Street.
"He's a terrific player who's won some Cups and has been a superstar player. I liken it a little to -- and I told Jaromir this too -- the addition of Mark Recchi [in 2010]," said Chiarelli, who would not rule possibly re-signing Jagr this summer. "You don't have to be the guy, but you're an important piece and you can band together with your teammates. You've got the experience, you've got a certain skill set, size or whatever you want to call it that will benefit the rest of the group. But really, you've won, you have experience and you want to win still. That was an important question and he was very receptive to that."
With the Jagr trade, the claiming of Kaspars Daugavins on waivers and the possible arrival of Carl Soderberg from Sweden once the longtime prospect's season ends, Chiarelli's roster looks set at forward. Defense could be Chiarelli's next target, but he said he's not desperate to change the look of his back line.
"But I'm happy with our defense as it stands," Chiarelli said. "I think [Matt] Bartkowski has shown that he's giving a little different flavor to our group. And I think when we get Adam [McQuaid] back and Johnny [Boychuk] up and running, I think we'll be fine. So I'm not out there looking just to add numbers."
If the Jagr trade works out the way Chiarelli expects, the numbers added will be in the goals and wins column for the remainder of 2013.