During the press conference to announce the contract extension of Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, GM Peter Chiarelli was questioned by the media about restricted free agent Phil Kessel's future with the team. Chiarelli maintained that he wants to bring Kessel back and would be willing to move players (within reason) to accommodate him.
"It’s a different system now. It really is a different system now and to be a hard-liner so to speak, you have to keep in mind what these players make after their entry-level contracts," said Chiarelli. "The percentage of increase is huge. And what it does is it throws everything else out of whack. So there’s a balance that you have to keep. And Phil’s a terrific young player.
"And I’m responsible to our team and the fact that there’s a fixed-cost system that may go down, all parties considered have to look at the team, have to look at their own interest and you see more sacrifices made on both sides now. These are things that a lot of people don’t understand or they fail to look at. It’s a lot more of a balancing act now than ever.
"Hey, if you’re pushed toward the cap, you’re in a position where you have to balance it even more. That’s the position that we’re in. I’ve said publicly and I’ll say it again that I want Phil to be on our team. And I’ll do everything I can do to put him on our team, within reason, with the balance that I’m talking about. If it means moving players, I’ll do it. If it means matching offer sheets I’ll do it."
GM Peter Chiarelli at today's press conference via WEEI/Joe Haggerty's Big Bad Blog
PC went on to call out Phil Kessel's agent Wade Arnott for starting a "bit of a media war".
"It becomes a distraction because the other party starts making it a distraction. I understand all the tools of their trade, too. I used to be an agent. So you deal with it. We have a strong room, we’ve got strong leadership. It’s just part of the game. I just get a little disturbed when they talk about us being cheap. Because it’s not about that. Look at some of the second contracts we’ve given — Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci. It’s not about that. It’s about a balance."
While I agree in principle with what Chiarelli is saying, I still don't think that it is the best idea to develop a bad relationship with an agency that represents what seems like half the NHL, not to mention the guy he is allegedly trying to sign.
This is certainly getting interesting. If the two sides were far apart before, it seems as if they are a world apart now. Stay tuned...