Friday’s press conference to announce Peter Chiarelli‘s four-year extension with the Bruins was marked with praise from team president Cam Neely  and alternate governor Charlie Jacobs, but Chiarelli addressed one change he made to his staff this offseason.
Chiarelli’s tenure with the Bruins has been very successful, with two Stanley Cup  finals appearances and one Cup victory, but Chiarelli seemed to acknowledge the team’s lackluster record with drafting when he replaced director of amateur scooting Wayne Smith with Keith Gretzky.
The reason behind the move was pretty obvious: The Bruins haven’t really drafted well of late. From 2007 until today, Tyler Seguin  and Dougie Hamilton — both of whom were selected in the top 10 — are the only players selected in the first round that have since become NHL  regulars.
Chiarelli has done well in trading his picks, as he’s moved picks to get the likes of Chris Kelly , Jaromir Jagr and, on a more forgettable note, Tomas Kaberle . Still, it’s clear that in order for the Bruins to remain competitive in the years beyond the primes of their current stars, they’ll need to improve their success rate in the draft. Chiarelli feels they’re positioned to do that.
“Keith has had some success in Phoenix in that position and we brought him on board,” Chiarelli said. “I wanted to broaden the scope of our amateur scouting and I felt that he was the best person to do that and that fits in to what I was saying ‘ it’s obvious we want more young players to be ready to play. You’ll be seeing some in the next two or three years, there are some good ones that are coming.
“You’ve heard about the [Ryan] Spooners, the [Anthony] Camaras, the [Malcolm] Subbans. There are some players that are coming but that was the impetus behind that decision. I wanted to broaden the scope, broaden meaning beyond a certain region and that is part and parcel why we hired [P.J.] Axelsson. There are a lot of good players in Sweden and we wanted to broaden our scope there too.”
September will be an interesting month for the young players already in the system, as the likes of Jared Knight, Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Reilly Smith, Jordan Caron and Carter Camper, among others, will all compete for a vacant bottom-six spot.
“We have to get ‘ you know, we’re going to see an influx of young players this year,” Chiarelli said. “They’re going to get a chance, not just the ones that we have seen last year but the other guys are going to get a chance. We’re going to have to make room and find players because to make the commitments that we did to our core, although the cap is going to go up, you have to have flexibility, you have to have the other players coming. So that scenario I would like to improve on.”