(Photo: Krista Patronick)
On the afternoon of Saturday, October 14, the Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that they had traded Boychuk to the New York Islanders in exchange for two second round draft picks (the Philadelphia Flyers second round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and the New York Islanders second round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft) and a conditional third round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. The Bruins would acquire the conditional 2015 third round pick from the Islanders if New York trades Boychuk during the 2014-15 season to an Eastern Conference team.
Supposition had been swirling around the hockey community throughout the training camp season. It was no secret that the Bruins had a plethora of defensemen, especially when a contract was reached with Torey Krug about a week ago. It was also no secret that the club was feeling the ceiling of the cap pushing back to the point that they couldn’t stand up straight. Something was going to have to happen.
In addressing the media, Chiarelli let them know what he said to Boychuk.
“I told him ‘You know Johnny; we brought you here from Colorado. You did everyting we told you to do. You got better as a player. You were patient. You got better. You’re a part of the fabric of the team and this was really hard to do but there’s an element of business to it, an element of hockey and we tried to get ahead of it a little bit,’” Chiarelli said. “He was upset. I was upset. I’m still upset.”
Chiarelli’s job is one of the toughest in a hockey club. He’s got to not only see where the team is currently, but also have a gift for projecting where things are going—both in regard to the hockey market as a whole and to the players he has on his roster. He must also look at the cold hard dollar signs and, prior to the trade, the Bruins were not in a good place. While not giving them a lot in this regard, they are in a better place than they were.
In explaining some of his decision making, Chiarelli pointed out that he has a laundry list of things to do in the coming year or so.
“We’ve got a lot of people to sign and there’s a list of priorities and part of my job is to prioritize things. That’s a little bit how it shakes out,” he said. “I’d love to keep this team together player to player as long as I could if I felt it was prudent on the hockey front and the financial front. And I’ve tried to keep the critical mass together and I’ll continue to provide the right moves for the organization.”
The defensive depth of the Bruins organization is perhaps too much of a good thing. The number of defensemen who were at camp was one short of a complete roster of all positions for a game. Some obviously were going to be released to the Providence Bruins, but after the third set of releases, the roster was still carrying nine d-men.
“We have guys that are going to step up. They’re not the same player as Johnny,” Chiarelli explained. “We’ve got players that are returning from injury in Adam McQuaid. We’ve got players that are coming into their own in Matt Bartkowski. We’ve got a player in Dougie Hamilton that’s really picking it up. We’ve got Dennis Seidenberg coming from injury and shaking the rust off. We’ve got [Zdeno Chara] who’s trained in a terrific way this year.”
Of course in the end, no one was ready for news that they inevitably knew was coming. But it will be interesting to see how the defensive pairs shake out in the coming early games of the regular season.
In addition to the astounding news about the Boychuk trade, the Bruins also placed Jordan Caron and Craig Cunningham on waivers; and David Warsofsky was placed on waivers for the purpose of assignment to the Providence Bruins. The recently recalled Chris Breen, Justin Florek, Seth Griffith, Alex Khokhlachev and Zach Trotman were assigned to the Providence Bruins. And finally, Malcom Subban was assigned to the Providence affiliate