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The Bruins: We Got Worse

Peter Chiarelli admitted that the team is in worse shape following the trade of Johnny Boychuk. So, what now?

Paul Bereswill

Two things about the Boyhcuk trade on Saturday were infuriating. We'll get to those in a second.

But if you hadn't heard, Boston traded Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders, bringing back two 2nd round picks, and a conditional 3rd pick that only applies if the Isles flip JB55 to another team in the Eastern Conference by the end of the season. Essentially, the Isles would have to be sellers by the trade deadline, and with the moves that Garth Snow has made this offseason, it's looking more and more unlikely, as the Islanders are fringe playoff teams for many NHL reporters and analysts.

Johnny would be better off here, and the Bruins would be better off having him on the roster.

Now what's maddening about the trade, number one, is that it was assumed dead last week, when Reilly Smith and Torey Krug signed team-friendly 1-year, $1.4M deals to help the team fit under the salary cap. (I'd love to have seen their faces when the news broke). Boychuk went from being gone for sure, to probably on the team. And the "need to trade Boychuk" rumors turned into "need to trade someone." Could've been McQuaid. Could've been Campbell. Dumping Caron. A number of moves were available to get some wiggle room in terms of cap space. They no longer needed to shed $3.367M. They were in good shape.

Boychuk would go into the 2014-15 season as a year-long rental. They knew they wouldn't be able to keep him--we'll get back to this point later--but they were happy with him anchoring the 2nd D pairing and putting in solid minutes for a full season. He's the type of player the Bruins would trade for at a deadline, only better. And they would now have him for a full season, not just six weeks and a playoff run. They would keep him for one more season, knowing he'd be on his way out, but hoping he'd also put up good numbers in a contract year and help the team thrive. Johnny Rocket would be better off here, and the Bruins would be better off having him on the roster this season. Both sides were happy. Or, so we thought.

So when the news broke around 1:50pm Saturday afternoon, it came to everyone as a shock. Not Adam McQuaid, not Gregory Campbell, not Kevan Miller or David Warsofsky or Chris Kelly. Boychuk was traded. Matt Bartkowski--who by the way is also in a contract year--immediately got slotted into that 4th D-man spot, and is likely to share ice with Seidenberg for the majority of the season. And what's done is done.

Now, while the return is reasonable for a player of Boychuk's caliber, and I don't necessarily dislike the trade in a vacuum, I was disappointed at the reasons, and absolutely livid at Chiarelli's comments during his press conference later that afternoon. If you didn't catch any of it, here's the full video.

If you don't want to listen to the entire press conference, here were some solid highlights from Peter himself.

I feel like we got very valuable return. Those are real viable picks that can be used to draft players or acquire players.

Arguably this doesn’t make us better now, obviously, but it’s something that when I look at it in a series of steps it’s the right move.

We could have kept him and—you know if we keep him were not trading him at the deadline. We keep him were using him so that played into the fact. You can see what you could have gotten at the deadline but I don’t weigh that as one of the factors here.

And, while not in the press conference transcript, my favorite...

First off, slow clap to my man PC. Picks are how you win Cups when your core is at its peak.

While its true that those picks can be used to draft of acquire players, why are you trading a defenseman away for picks, if you're going to turn around and flip those picks again in five months? Because if we turn around an trade half of Boychuk's pull for Meszaros 2.0 to add some defensive depth, I'm going to disown this team.

You want to stay in Boston, Johnny? Let's test that out.

It's also nice that he admitted to making the team worse going into this season. I understand that there's a bottleneck of defensemen trying to squeeze onto the 23-man roster, but have you forgotten who your players are Peter? When was the last season where a defenseman didn't go down via injury for 6 to 8 weeks? There will be plenty of time for the Warsofskys and Trotmans and Morrows to come up and prove themselves. You don't have to make room when the room will make itself.

It should also be addressed that Peter could've reassessed Boychuk's value leading up to the deadline. He chose not to. And he chose to go with a weaker Top 4 out of the gate despite to real leading candidate coming out of Providence. Yes, the Bruins have tons of defensmen that could play at the NHL level for some teams. But there's no Spooner or Subban, who has broken away from the pack and distinguished themself as the next guy.

Finally, thank you DJ for that golden nugget of information. Because it's one thing to lowball someone. But it's another thing entirely to not discuss extending a player for amount of term, for any amount of salary, when he's expressed on several occasions how much he wants to be here. You want to stay in Boston, Johnny? Let's test that out. You know our cap situation. Torey and Reilly certaintly did. How much would it take to keep you here for a year, for two years? Because we both know, we're better as a team with you on the 2nd pairing. At least this year.

But no. You didn't even try, Peter. Ya did the damn thing. Way to weigh all the options before dealing away your (probably) 3rd-best lock-down defenseman. Just don't expect me to be doing cartwheels when you land Keith Ballard for only a 3rd and a conditional 4th.