By dumping Derek Morris and his $3.3 million salary, GM Peter Chiarelli gained the cap space he required to land Dennis Seidenberg ($2.25 million), an upgrade the Bruins believe will round out the defense. Given the difference between the two salaries, Chiarelli also had enough cash to bring on the forward the Bruins desperately need.
Chiarelli came up short on the second step.
“That was part of it,” Chiarelli said when asked whether he had made the Morris and Seidenberg trades to free up money for up-front help. “It gave us some latitude there. Again, going back to what I said earlier, we felt it would have been just marginal, marginal improvement. Don’t get me wrong. I see us struggling to score. I saw us struggle last night. With the strength of our centermen and what I saw in the eight, nine games prior to last night, I believe this team can improve in its scoring.”
Chiarelli said the front office had identified eight forwards, including Wojtek Wolski, as possible acquisition targets. Chiarelli termed prices as high.
“As a manager, you try and separate the direct results of the team on a day-to-day basis,” Chiarelli said. “I wasn’t happy with last night. We didn’t try and react. We didn’t react today. We put a lot of planning into these things. I know the fans want more scoring and they want us to have success. I know that. There’s my frustration — that I didn’t put that into place.”
* The Bruins could have signed Seidenberg last summer as an unrestricted free agent. Chiarelli said he spoke with J.P. Barry, Seidenberg’s agent, but decided to sign Morris instead. Chiarelli said he didn’t expect Seidenberg to be as good as he’s been this season. “Hindsight’s 20-20,” Chiarelli said. “He’s had a tremendous year. He’s really improved. He’s one of those defensemen that go underappreciated. He played well in the playoffs against us last year. All their D did. He found his niche a little bit. What’s happened is that through his experience this past year, he’s improved his skill. He’s always been a thick, strong guy. He’s improved his skill so that he can move the puck in an efficient manner. He’s smarter. His game changed this year.”
* The Bruins see Seidenberg, a left-handed shot who plays the right side, being paired with Zdeno Chara.
* Referring to management’s inquiry to waive his no-movement clause last week, Morris called it a “long, messed-up process.” “It’s a personal attachment on a contract,” Chiarelli acknowledged. “When I recruited Derek, I told him that I would give him this no-trade, no-movement, because it’s one year and he’s got a family. But the opportunity presented itself for [Seidenberg]. Phoenix had called me earlier on, much earlier on, if we were going to do something, because Derek has an attachment to Phoenix. It’s difficult for me to approach a player that I’ve given this clause on. Derek got a little emotional. I can’t blame him for it. But at the end of the day, we wanted to balance out our defense.”