Takeaways from Peter Chiarelli’s conference call: Right wing the priority
|07.03.13 at 11:37 am ET|
With free agency set to begin on Friday, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli held a conference call with the media Wednesday. Here are some quick notes from the call:
– The Bruins plan on getting Tuukka Rask‘s deal done “in short order,” and likely before free agency opens. If a deal isn’t signed by the time free agency opens, Chiarelli will approach free agency with a “placeholder number” for Rask in mind cap-wise. Rask is restricted, so there isn’t much of a threat of losing the player, as Rask would have to sign an offer sheet and then have the B’s not match it for him to leave. The chances of that are very slim.
– With a strong core of defensemen under contract, the Bruins will not be looking to add to their back end. Their priority is finding right wings to replace Nathan Horton and Jaromir Jagr. The team had met with Vincent Lecavalier on Saturday after Horton told them he would not re-sign with them, but ultimately Chiarelli decided to not further pursue Lecavalier for a number of reasons, one of which was that they want a “natural winger” and Lecavalier is a center who was willing to move to wing.
– Internal right wing options consist of Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, Jordan Caron and Jared Knight. The Bruins qualified Caron this week, but the thought here is that they’ve just never given him a long enough look at the NHL level. If Caron starts the season in the lineup, they need to show their faith in him by playing him for at least 20 games so they can see what he can be at the NHL level. They gave Chris Bourque 18 games last year, so they can stand to play Caron and actually give him a fair chance.
– Chiarelli told Jagr on breakup day that the B’s wouldn’t be resigning him, but that was before Horton told them he was leaving. As such, Chiarelli said he has thought about “circling back” to Jagr, but said that after telling the veteran winger was moving on from him, he wouldn’t be surprised if Jagr has since moved on from the idea of returning to Boston.
– With limited cap space (even with Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve, a $7 million cap hit for Rask would leave the B’s with less than $2.2 million in space), Chiarelli admitted that he is also exploring the trade market, saying there are “a couple of trades” the B’s are considering.
– Chiarelli and other GMs can talk to impending free agents for the two days before free agency opens, but Chiarelli did not comment on who he’s met with. He was asked if he had met with Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson and declined comment, though he did say that he believes the Bruins are a “destination” for older players seeking a Stanley Cup. Alfredsson has not yet signed with the Senators and is 41, though the Senators could be a strong contender next year as well and have tons of cap space. Chiarelli and Alfredsson go back to Chiarelli’s days in Ottawa, so the right wing would be an attractive option for the B’s were he to leave the Senators.
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reported shortly after the conference call that Chiarelli has indeed contacted Alfredsson’s camp.
– Chiarelli has had discussions with Anton Khudobin‘s agent, though the team’s priority is to sign Rask and then move their attention to Khudobin.