Bruins will trade D-men before NHL season starts

Bruins will trade D-men before NHL season starts
July 2, 2014, 3:00 pm
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli indicated he has a couple of open trade conversations still ongoing with fellow NHL teams, and it’s a safe bet it involves at least one of their defensemen. If you count David Warsofsky after an impressive season split between the AHL and NHL, the Bruins have nine NHL-caliber defensemen on their roster. That’s an embarrassment of riches for a position that’s at a premium based on the wheel barrels of free agent cash thrown at Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and Anton Stralman on July 1.

“I think we have a good group right now, and I include [David] Warsofsky because I believe he’s as close to an NHL player as you’re going to get from Providence. There are nine defensemen we have -- NHL defensemen -- so we can’t go into the year with nine NHL defensemen,” said Chiarelli. “But Seidenberg will be back healthy. [Adam] McQuaid will be back healthy. At some point, I have to do something there, but I’m in no hurry. It may be that we see how the preseason goes, with who’s mixing, who’s matching with whom.”

If the Bruins are forced into making an emergency salary cap maneuver this summer then Johnny Boychuk would be the most likely trade chip, given his $3.36 million cap hit and the heavy interest in the hard-hitting defenseman. But the Bruins steering away from re-signing Jarome Iginla might have taken Boychuk out of trade danger, and Peter Chiarelli talked about No. 55 as one of the players he’d like to extend when discussing upcoming contract concerns.

Clearly Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug aren’t in danger of being moved given their roles as core players on the team, and the $800,000 cap hit for Kevan Miller is something Chiarelli wants to hold onto. So that leaves Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski and Warsofsky as the clear chips in trade discussions, and attractive targets for NHL managers that were left out in the D-man cold during the free agent frenzy.

Chiarelli is aware of the surplus he’s facing at the defensemen position, and has been fielding calls on his defensemen since the Game 7 loss to the Habs two months ago.

“I can do [a trade] now. I can do it during the summer. The very latest point is when we have to submit our roster, which is on the eve of – I think we open a Wednesday, so on the Tuesday,” said Chiarelli. “You saw what prices were today for defensemen. I’m happy with the D that we have. We have more than enough.

“I’ve had [GMs] call me for our D from the moment we lost [to the Canadiens]. They want our D. They’re coached well and they’ve developed well, so I’m pretty comfortable with that we have. [We have] to figure out the right formula; that’s what our jobs are.”

The best bet here: Warsofsky (who deserves a shot on another NHL team after getting in a numbers game in Boston) and McQuaid (who will gain in trade value once he shows that he’s healthy in training camp) will be the names moved when Chiarelli thins the herd of B’s D-men.