Pressure Mounting on Peter Chiarelli to Sign Krug and Smith


Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has made his fair share of deals since joining the organization in 2006. At the trade deadline last season, he was scrutinized for the lack of help he brought in for the postseason. Last offseason, he traded away Tyler Seguin after just three seasons with the team which turned the heads of many Bruins fans. Don’t get me wrong though. His deals at the 2011 deadline may have allowed the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup. In 2010, he brought in Dennis Seidenberg, Nathan Horton, Gregory Campbell, and Matt Bartkowski for Dennis Wideman and a skate sharpener. In 2008 he traded the well-traveled center Matt Hendricks to Colorado for Johnny Boychuk. Speaking of Johnny Rocket, it may be time for another trade.

With Torey Krug and Reilly Smith holding out to start training camp, the Bruins will need to free up some money to sign them. The B’s are in the so called “cap jail” due to their long-term contracts tying up a large chunk of the payroll and a veteran will most likely need to be moved for the Bruins to increase their low offers to Krug and Smith. Before I get into trade possibilities, let me just say that I have no idea why the team resigned Bartkowski and Jordan Caron this offseason. They have already attempted to trade Bart at the last two deadlines and he may not even crack the top six with Seidenberg healthy. He may be considered as one of the young guys, but at 26, there probably isn’t a ton of untapped potential left. As for Caron, it seemed to be the right time to cut the cord with the former first-rounder, but to my (and pretty much every B’s fan out there) surprise, Chiarelli brought him back for another year.

So how do the Bruins pick up some spare change for Krug and Smith? Some say that Boychuk is the most likely to go, but I would hope that’s not the case. Here are some trades that could allow the Bruins to keep their core players and dump some money in the process.

1. Adam McQuaid– “Darth Quaider”, as some like to call him, is now a redundant part of the Bruins. The gritty 27-year-old is costing the Bruins $1.56 million this year and as of now, has lost his job to Kevan Miller. Miller has just about half the price tag at $800,000 and became a very reliable option last season while filling in for McQuaid. Both provide little offense, but are certainly not afraid to check anyone or drop the gloves. Selling McQuaid off for a draft pick or prospect would be a smart choice for Chiarelli if he can find any takers.

2. Chris Kelly– If Claude Julien could, he would probably give Kelly the captain’s C and play him 23 minutes a night on the first line. In reality, Kelly has been a shell of himself since his career year in 2011-12. He’s put up 12 goals and 27 points in 91 games over the past two seasons while posting a -6 rating. His $3.5 million cap hit puts him among the likes of Kyle Okposo, David Desharnais, Kyle Turris, and Jaromir Jagr. Which one of these guys do you think makes too much money? Kelly has a limited no-trade clause and has a list of eight teams that he can be traded to. Stick that list to your bulletin board, Pete, and start calling!

3. Gregory CampbellShawn Thornton is gone and perhaps it is time for Soupy to go as well. The famous “Merlot Line” is no more. Campbell is very similar to Kelly. Both lack skills offensively, but play a strong two-way game that Julien loves. Who is to say some of the younger players can’t learn how to play that way as well. The B’s have 12 players in training camp listed as centers on their official roster and with some of the top prospects, such as Ryan Spooner, Alex Khokhlachev, and Matt Lindblad all looking for roster spots, it might be a good time to part ways with the veteran.

It is possible that Krug, Smith, or both will play for cheap money this year and nobody has to be dealt right away. With the Bruins history of giving their veterans lucrative, long-term deals, they might bite on a short contract for now in hopes they get a big deal tossed their way next year.

If Boychuk or another veteran like Brad Marchand is shipped out, the return would obviously be greater, but it also cannot include a similar contract. A deal would likely include a prospect package and draft picks because another veteran of similar talent would probably have a similar contract and wouldn’t free up the space for Krug and Smith.

Peter Chiarelli didn’t do anything in free agency. The only sure newcomers in the organization are goaltender Jeremy Smith and defenseman Christopher Breen. Ville Leino and Simon Gagne also have an outside shot at making the team, but neither have been productive for a few years.

The Bruins preseason begins Tuesday in Montreal with a rematch of last year’s conference semi-finals.