“We were informed around noon [on Wednesday] that we had the player, we won the sweepstakes, so to speak. [Flames GM Jay Feaster] just had to talk to Jarome [Iginla] and his agent regarding the logistics of everything…We believed we had a deal. We operated under the premise of a deal. When things were silent, I obviously, in my experience, know that if things go silent it means that something is going screwy from your end. And it was. Later that night, around quarter to twelve, I got a call from Jay [Feaster] saying that it was the player’s choice and he opted to go to Pittsburgh and we were out.”
That statement came from Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli after he discovered that he didn’t have the winning Powerball jackpot. That jackpot was the Jarome Iginla trade. The Bruins were hoping to fill a major hole in their lines, and Iginla would have been an excellent fit. So, where does that leave the Bruins with the trade deadline looming hard upon them?
The Bruins will have an obscene amount of money to work with. They traded Tim Thomas and got rid of a very large albatross from around their neck. Next season, Marc Savard‘s contract will be up giving Chiarelli et al a near blank check to solve the Bruins’ two big problems: Consistency in a top-six forward, and a reliable year-round defenseman.
Don’t get me wrong. I liked it when Daniel Paille got bumped up to the second line a few games back. It showed coach Claude Julien‘s confidence in him, and Paille has exceeded expectations. (I keep voting for him for the 7th Player Award.) The problem is, bumping Paille up looks more like a stop-gap than an actual solution. Iginla was likely going to be that solution, but Iginla and the Penguins shot that one out of the water.
So, do we keep shopping for offensive forward players like Jaromir Jagr and Mike Ribiero, veteran players who continue to perform for their teams, but are approaching UFA and will be available? Jagr is over 40, and while he is still a good player(currently second in scoring for the Dallas Stars), does he have it in him to go another couple of years? Perhaps Boston could attempt a lesser version of Edmonton’s experiment. Get young players and keep them in the system. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand both came up through the Providence Bruins, and they’ve learned the system and made a smooth and excellent transition to the NHL.
Defense is a different story. Adam McQuaid will likely be out for the rest of the regular season. Johnny Boychuk is still listed as ‘day-to-day’, but leaning towards not playing. Dougie Hamilton has been a pleasant surprise, but he sometimes forget that the OHL and the NHL are different, and he makes rookie mistakes. Andrew Ference is still inconsistent, although his play has improved much of late. Do the Bruins rely on the merry-go-round system on defensemen as they have on the forward third line? Hopefully not, the merry-go-round has had a lot of players on that line, and the only one who has been a fixture there has been Rich Peverley (Chris Kelly is still out with a broken leg, and the Providence Bruins have been doing a lot of ‘upstairs, downstairs’ on the third line.).
Perhaps another veteran like the Islanders’ Mark Streit would be useful for the organization, at least for one or two more years. The deadline is only four days away, and the Bruins don’t appear to have anyone ready to go for the next trade. Hopefully, Cam Neely and the rest of the front office have a Plan ‘B’ ready to go. It just seems odd that the Bruins would be an overall loser in a trade. It does not happen often.