PETER CHIARELLI: GM GENIUS

Bruins GM, Peter Chiarelli traded Phil Kessel to the Toronto Maple Leafs on September 19th, 2009 for a first and second round pick in 2010 and a first rounder in 2011. This past June he used those picks to select Tyler Seguin and London Knight centre, Jared Knight, but it seems Chiarelli wants to trade this year’s pick for someone who can help the Bruins right now.

Chiarelli was asked on WEEI radio in Boston if he’d consider trading Toronto’s first round pick in 2011?

"Yeah, I’d look at it, sure. I’ve had discussions involving that pick. I certainly would look at it. We’ve got a lot of assets, so that alone allows us to be creative also … there’s been one [deal] that we’ve thrown around here internally, I don’t know that I would do it but it’s something that warrants further discussion."

The last sentance is absolute brilliance on Chiarelli’s behalf.

How often have fans lamented that their GM could have gotten more in return had he waited longer when trading away an elite asset. Oiler fans, and even Kevin Lowe himself, have wondered if he could have received more for Chris Pronger in the summer of 2006. (Back then he got Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid and two first rounders and a 2nd. Today the trade has evolved into Jim Vandermeer, Smid, Jordan Eberle, Martin Marincin and Cam Abney).

Opposing GMs and Bruins’ supporters wondered why then-GM, Mike O’Connell didn’t let the rest of the league know he was shopping Joe Thornton. The Bruins got fleeced in that deal getting only Wayne Primeau, Brad Stuart and Marco Sturm.

Clearly Chiarelli wants everyone to know where he stands with his "bonus" pick.

Chiarelli’s comments make it clear the Leafs’ pick is in play, but the subtle hint that he is close to a trade will surely get every other GM’s attention. Right now the pick would be the 5th choice, and at the very least it will be in the top-eight. Chiarelli is in a great position. His team is competitive, they already have a potential star in the system, Seguin, from the original deal, and now by going public he has increased his chances of maiximizing his return.

With 20 days until the trade deadline, this simple quote will have fans in every market looking at potential deals that could help their team.

COUCH GM

While every team would love a shot at a top-five pick, the reality is there might only be a handful of teams who are willing, and able, to offer up a fair package.

Ottawa, Toronto, Florida, New Jersey, the Islanders and Edmonton are either completely out of the playoff race or hanging by a thread like Buffalo, Columbus and St. Louis. There are many teams currently in the hunt for the postseason, but would any of their GMs be willing to sacrifice this season for a potential top-five pick?

According to Capgeek  the Bruins can "currently" only acquire a max cap hit of $2.9 million, so I’m assuming any trade they make will see Michael Ryder, and his $4 million cap hit, as part of the package going the other way.

EDMONTON: The Oilers are currently 30th, and Steve Tambellini would be willing to part with a proven player to secure a second top-five pick in June. Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner are the only Oiler veterans that would grab Chiarelli’s attention. Chiarelli acquired Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell for Dennis Wideman and the 15th pick last summer, so it might take more than just Hemsky or Penner to get the pick. I suspect Chiarelli will want some sort of young prospect to be added to any deal.

OTTAWA: I know it would be within the division, but Chiarelli had no problem making the original deal with Toronto, so I don’t see him shying away if the Sens put a good deal on the table. Chris Phillips is the obvious name to be part of the package, but the Sens would need to add much more. Would Mike Fisher entice Chiarelli? I don’t think so, because he has two years left at $4.2 million, but Bryan Murray should be trying to save his job by securing another top-five pick.

New Jersey: Despite their recent hot streak, they aren’t going anywhere, and you wonder if Lou Lamoriello wants to break up his team rather than see them drop out of the bottom five. Lamoriello’s problem is he doesn’t have anyone who financially fits with the Bruins. Elias and Rolston are too expensive, and past their prime. Would Lou gamble and move Travis Zajak and David Clarkson? Zach Parise is up for a big raise, so the Devils need to make some room.

FLORIDA: Chiarelli and Dale Tallon made a deal at the draft, but I’m not sure they can come up with another one. The Panthers only have veterans Weiss, Booth, Olesz, Wideman, Kulikov, Clemmensen and Bryan Allen under contract for next season. Bryan McCabe, Cory Stillman, Radek Dvorak and Chris Higgins won’t get you a top-five pick. I don’t see Florida being a partner.

NY ISLANDERS: Garth Snow wouldn’t move John Tavares, and after that he doesn’t have anyone who could help the Bruins playoff push. Marc Streit and Trent Hunter are hurt, and the rest of the lineup is too inexperienced.

TORONTO: You know that Brian Burke will call Chiarelli and see if he is interested in making another deal, and if I’m Chiarelli I’d be all ears. I loved the deal he pulled off in 2009, but this time Burke’s cupboard is a tad bare. I’m sure Tomas Kaberle’s name will be first out of the gate, like it has been for the past two years. Would Kris Versteeg and Kaberle be enough?

BUFFALO: Sabres new owner, Terry Pegula, has a reputation of being very aggressive, but Darcy Regier hasn’t been that way in his tenure in Buffalo. The Sabres, after their win Tuesday, are only four points out with two games in hand. I’ll bet Pegula would rather make the playoffs this year, and if they stay close in the next few weeks, I think they’ll be more of a buyer than a seller.

ST. LOUIS: Most of the Blues best players are young, and moving one of them for another top-five pick would seem like a lateral move. The Erik Johnson trade rumblings don’t make sense, especially for a draft pick. I don’t think Andy MacDonald and Eric Brewer would entice Chiarelli and I doubt the Blues would move one of Oshie, Perron or Backes.

COLUMBUS: The Jackets have won three straight and are only four points behind 8th place Calgary with two games in hand. GM, Scott Howson’s job is on the line if he misses the playoffs, so I don’t see him trying to build a future that he won’t be a part of. I see Howson as a buyer, especially if the Jackets are within four points or less.

OTHER POSSIBILITIES

CALGARY: The Flames are 11-3-4 since Darryl Sutter resigned got fired, and suddenly in the playoff picture. Would Jay Feaster roll the dice and trade Robyn Regehr, and hope his team could still make the playoffs and get a top pick? The Flames are in a tough spot. They don’t have much depth in the farm, but would Feaster, or more specifically the owners, be willing to sacrifice a few home playoff dates for a potential franchise player? Tough call.

MINNESOTA: The Wild haven’t had a first round pick pan out since they took Brent Burns 20th in 2003. Since Burns they’ve drafte AJ Thelan (12th, 2004), Benoit Pouliot (4th, 2005), James Sheppard (9th, 2006), Colton Gillies (16th, 2007), Tyler Cuma (23rd, 2008), Nick Leddy (17th, 2009) and Michael Granlund (9th, 2010). Granlund and Leddy are too young to judge yet, but the rest are more suspects than prospect at this point. Chuck Fletcher needs to make a splash, and I wonder if Nick Schultz and Matt Cullen would get Chiarelli’s attention.

I’m sure many other GMs will contact Chiarelli to find out his asking price, and after yesterday’s comments I’m sure Chiarelli’s phone will be ringing frequently.

Letting the entire league know that  a potential top-five pick is on the market was a savvy move by Chiarelli, and I won’t be surprised if he ends up getting more than the supposed offer that is currently on the table. The only negative might be that the current GM that he is dealing with gets annoyed and backs out.

Chiarelli likely weighed the options and realized, that in this case, a public auction will garner a higher price than what he would have got in a silent one.

Brilliant move.

  • stevezie

    This is probably a dumb idea but since they’re en vogue here I’m throwing it out: What about our 1st this year/Penner/Brule for Toronto 1st/Seguin? For argument sake that moves them up five spots this year and gives them a better chance to win now. This only works for the Oilers if we think that Seguin is way better than anything the 2011 top 5 has to offer, which seems to be the case.
    Mock away, I haven’t thought this out.

  • stevezie

    And another thing! I’d say Burke traded something he can spare-a defenceman- to get something he needsan offensive forward. Even if Lupul doesn’t work out this is still not a bad trade because the Leafs had an extra top 4 guy anyway. Good deal for all.

  • Burke should try swapping their pick next year to get their pick this year back. Something like…

    To BOS: Tomas Kaberle, Kris Versteeg, Leafs 2012 1st

    To TOR: Mark Stuart, Blake Wheeler, Leafs 2011 1st