With Dennis Wideman dealt on Tuesday to Florida – in a swap that brought in forwards Nathan Horton and Greg Campbell – Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli figures he may still have to explore more fixes to Boston’s back end.
”I may not be done fixing the defense, first and foremost,” said Chiarelli, responding during a conference call today to a question about the overall composition of Boston’s defense now with Wideman gone.
Crediting goaltending and overall team defense for the club’s solid goals-against record the last two seasons, Chiarelli added that it can be difficult to find a ”perfect fit” for a puck-moving defenseman (one of Wideman’s roles, which he filled inconsistently).
”If we add something, it might not be purely a puck-mover,” said the GM. ”I thought Matt Hunwick turned the corner at the end. Andrew Ference moves the puck well. Dennis Seidenberg moves it well…and we are well coached.”
The trade with Florida sent Boston’s other first-round pick, No. 15 overall, to Florida. That’s one more chip Chiarelli cannot play if he hopes to swing a deal for another high draft pick, possibly in the 3-7 range, to acquire one of the prized 18-year-old defensemen in Friday’s first round. One of the prospects, Cam Fowler, is considered a potential franchise defensemen.
”I am not ruling it out,” said Chiarelli, asked about a move to acquire another high pick to pluck a blue liner. ”But right now it’s not a pressing urgency.”
Chiarelli, for the most part, repeated comments about Horton that he made Tuesday immediately after the trade.
”He’s a good person, he competes,” said Chiarelli, noting that he heard comments depicting Horton as ”neutral-character guy.” ”He’s a big-body kid. He can skate and shoot. He’s only 25 years old. He’s what we are looking for.”
Overall, said Chiarelli, Horton presented the opportunity to obtain ”a premier forward.”
”We had to do it,” said the GM.
Chiarelli’s update on his four unrestricted free agents, including Steve Begin (C), Mark Recchi (W), Miro Satan (W), and Johnny Boychuk:
Begin — He has been notified that the club won’t know before July 1 whether to extend him a contract offer. Read: the Campbell acquistion likely leaves him out of a job here.
Satan — Chiarelli said he has not been in contact with the player or his agent. Read: unlikely to return.
Recchi — Chiarelli has spoken to his agent. Read: likely to be back, if price is $1 million or a little less.
Boychuk — Agent has been contacted, said Chiarelli. Meanwhile, speculation continues to circulate that the Oilers, in Boychuk’s hometown of Edmonton, will offer him a three-year deal worth upwards of $2 million a year. At that price, the Bruins might have to let him go.