Current prices, according to Chiarelli, are high on the rental market. They will remain so after the Olympic break. So while improving the defense is a priority, the Bruins are acknowledging that an acquisition might not take place because of the short supply and high demand.
“There’s really not that many players available,” Chiarelli said. “Beggars can’t be choosers, right? With each passing game, I see our D maturing. I see them making less mistakes. I always feel I like eight good NHL defensemen heading into the playoffs.”
Chiarelli is expecting Adam McQuaid (leg) to return, if not upon the break’s conclusion, shortly after resumption of play. Once McQuaid gets up to speed, he would replace Kevan Miller on the third pairing.
The key player in the current mix is Matt Bartkowski. Assuming every defenseman is healthy, Bartkowski would be the left-side defenseman on the second duo, most likely paired with Johnny Boychuk. The Bruins must determine if there is an available defenseman who would be an upgrade on Bartkowski. If so, they’d have to figure out how much to give up for the acquisition. But Chiarelli said he’d be comfortable starting the playoffs with Bartkowski in the top-four formation.
Chiarelli said he has not ruled out acquiring a player with term beyond this season remaining on his contract. But that might mean dealing away a current roster player to account for future cap issues.