This year marked the 9th trade deadline for Peter Chiarelli as General Manager of the Boston Bruins. Of the eight previous trade deadlines, the team has advanced to the postseason in seven of those seasons, missing only Chiarelli’s first season back in 2006-07. We’ve seen friendly faces depart and new fan favorites come in, but what have Chiarelli’s best moves really been? Who ended up benefitting the team in the short term, and long term? Our Top 10 can un-annoyingly be seen on one page, all below.
- Greg Zanon
- Steve Montador
- Andrej Meszaros
- Wade Redden
- Mike Mottau
- Steven Kampfer
- Tomas Kaberle
Every year, the Bruins seemed to get a 7th defenseman to secure their blue line as they made a push for the postseason. Even last year when they took home the Presidents Trophy, Boston made a move to improve by bringing in Meszaros from Philidelphia, after whiffing on Andy MacDonald.
Most came and went pretty quickly, playing only a handful of games before hitting free agency. Only Steven Kampfer (and technically Adam McQuaid) stuck around following the summer—even though Kampfer himself was dealt only 48 games into his Bruins career. And the Kaberle deal, while frowned upon via revisionist history, was welcomed with open arms when it was made, and ultimately resulted in a Cup. Yes, these men may not have been the pieces that made the Bruins seasons a success. But their true impact was in our heart. #Memories
10. Brian Rolston
Rolston came back to the Bruins the year following the Cup run. He was thought to be the Recchi replacement, a veteran presence who still had something left in the tank. With the top six solidified because of Seguin and Horton, Rolston was relegated to the 3rd line along Peverly and Kelly, replacing more of Ryder’s role than Recchi’s. Admittedly, he looked slow. But he was quietly productive, posting 15 points in 21 games down the stretch. He had just 3 points in the playoffs, but the Bruins as a whole struggled against newcomer netminder Brayden Holtby and the Washington Capitals, getting bounced on a Game 7 overtime goal in the opening round. The entire team underachieved, but Rolston wasn’t one of the main downsides that year, and actually helped them get as far as they did.
9. Aaron Ward
More recently known for getting the Jarome Iginla trade incorrectly, the now TSN anchor was a character pickup at Chia’s first deadline back in 2007. He was a guy that’d won two Cups with two different organizations, and he brought intangibles to the locker room. Wardo was Chara’s right-hand man in defensive situations, becoming a great anchor on the blue line as the Bruins turned their team into a more defensive direction post-Dave Lewis. While he didn’t get his third ring here in Boston, Ward was a vital part of the rebuild that led to the Bruins getting the top seed in the East in 2008-09.
8. Dennis Wideman
Just edging out Ward on this list is Chara’s other often-paired partner, the infamous Dennis Wideman. Wides came over from the Blues the same day that Peter got Ward from the Rangers. And even though Chia gave up fan-favorite Brad Boyes to get him, Wideman instantly became the puck-moving defenseman that would spark the offense on the blue line. Over his three full seasons with the Bruins, no one played more with Chara than Wideman, as the pair posted a collective 52.6 CF%. Despite having 50 points in ’08-’09—good enough for 5th on the team—he’ll be remembered for his -14 the following season, riddled with untimely turnovers and costly mistakes that didn't ’reflect his 51.5 CF%. Although his best value was probably getting the Bruins Nathan Horton in the summer of 2010.
7. Chuck Kobasew
Chuck Kobasew came over to the Bruins a couple weeks before Ward and Wideman—Chiarelli was a lot more active in his early days—and played two full seasons with Boston before getting traded again early in the 2009-10 season. He had 158 games played during his time with the Bruins, with the majority of his time spent alongside Patrice Bergeron and a young David Krejci. He posted back-to-back 20-goal seasons, the only Bruin to do so over that timeframe. After missing the 2008 playoffs due to injury, Kobasew added 6 points in his 11 postseason games in 2009, including two goals against Montreal during the sweep.
6. Rich Peverley
Pevs basically came over for Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler, since Boris Valabik amounted to nothing for Boston or Providence. It’s a trade that looks lopsided in hindsight before you remember that it was as much of a cap deal as it was anything else, freeing up salary as a precursor to the Kaberle deal. Still, Boston could use the depth, and back then Wheeler hadn’t tapped into his talent just yet. Rich Peverley traded shifts centering the revamped 3rd line along with Chris Kelly, and was huge in the postseason, with 5 of his 12 points coming in the final five games against Montreal to help get the Bruins out of the 1st round. He didn’t light the world on fire, but he was a great depth piece for a few years, helping redefine Boston’s 3rd line until Carl Soderberg showed up.
5. Andrew Ference
Andrew Ference, aka Fernknuckle, came over along with Kobasew at the 2007 deadline and became a locker room impact immediately. While his first few seasons came with a handful of nagging injuries—he didn’t play more than 60 games until 2010-11—he was a staple on the Bruins 2nd defensive pairing. Whether being pairied with McQuaid, Boychuk, Chara or Wideman, Ference’s on ice contributions were enough to earn him a contract extension. And his off-ice impact was seen especially during the Stanley Cup run. Never forget that hideous 80’s Bruins starter jacket.
4. German Engineering, Dennis Seidenberg
Although marred by his current contract, pre-extension/pre-ACL Dennis Seidenberg was one of the best lock-down defenseman the Bruins have had in a while outside of Chara. Seidenberg played a significant role in the 2011 playoffs, being paired with Big Z two games into the Montreal series to help calm the ice in front of Tim Thomas. The numbers will always bear out that Boychuk was and is still the better option, and I wish Seidenberg was the one traded back in October. But Corsi and Fenwick and Zone Starts aside, Seidenberg alongside Chara felt like a sure thing during the Cup run. And they walked out of Rogers Arena with the Cup hoisted above their heads, so it was as much of a sure thing as they needed it to be.
3. Chris Kelly
Another guy that’s begrudgingly still here is Chris Kelly. Although he was another great depth addition down the stretch in 2011. When Chiarelli nabbed Kells from the Senators for a 2nd-round pick, most of the city collectively said "This is what you’re giving us?" It turns out Kelly would turn into the best trade chip Peter acquired at the 2011 deadline, with Peverley being a notch below, and Kaberle being more bust than boom. Kelly had 5 goals and 8 assists during the ’11 Cup run, setting up one of the most important goals of the postseason feeding Ryder in overtime of Game 4 to tie the series at 2-2. He’d follow up with a career year in points the next season, scoring 20 goals before signing the $3M contract extension he’s come to be known for, but overall, he was a major win for Chiarelli.
2. Jaromir Jagr
The Jagr was immediately a fan favorite, coming over from Dallas after PC was snubbed by Jarome Iginla just days prior. His stat sheet wasn’t all that impressive—while he had 9 points in 11 games to end the season, Jagr couldn’t hit the back of the net come the playoffs, and had 10 assists in 22 games. But he seemed to show up in big moments time after time. Most notably was probably his steal on Evgeni Malkin that helped set up a game-winning double-overtime goal by Patrice Bergeron. While Jarome Iginla was probably the right choice after all (as seen by the following season), Jagr was the one with his name being touted at this year’s deadline, with many Bruins fans hungry for seconds of number 68.
1. Mark Recchi
He never scored 20 goals for Boston, and didn’t exceed 48 points over his 2 ½ seasons with the Bruins. And he was apart of the teams that underachieved against Carolina and collapsed against Philadelphia. But perhaps no single skater that Chiarelli made an in-season trade for was as important both on and off the ice as Mark Recchi. Peter was able to pull him from the Lightning for next to nothing in Martins Karsums and Matt Lashoff—who collectively played a total of 35 games for Tampa Bay. Including the playoffs, Recchi played 29 games that season for Boston.
He was the kind of veteran leadership both the coaching staff and front office loved, and the type they’ve been looking for ever since he retired. After facing off against three consecutive teams he’d previously played for, and announcing his possible retirement plans if the Bruins happened to win it all, Recchi capped off his career by tallying seven points in the Stanley Cup Finals against Vancouver. From the game-tying goal in the 2010 Winter Classic to his three-assist performance in Game 6 of the Finals, to playing through kidney stones for three games in 2009, Recchi always showed up and never quit. It may have been his third ring, but he was playing for it like it was his first.