BOSTON -- Peter Chiarelli has certainly heard criticism this season about trading Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars. The voices have waxed and waned, depending on Seguin's performance, but there’s no denying the 37 goals and 84 points the 22-year-old posted while helping push that team into a Western Conference playoff spot.
Chiarelli's heard it, and he understands it. But he also knows the Bruins are better since pulling off the Seguin trade.
The Bruins won the President’s Trophy for the first time in nearly 25 years with arguably the best team constructed during Chiarelli’s eight years at the helm. They finished third in goals scored (3.1 goals per game), second in goals allowed (2.1 per game), third in power play, eighth in the penalty kill, and first by a country mile in goal differential (plus-84), 5-on-5 for/against ratio (1.53) and third-period goal differential. And Reilly Smith (20 goals and 51 points) and Loui Eriksson (10 goals and 37 points) combined to put up numbers comparable to Seguin's in an injury-marred season.
At the end of last year, the Bruins made the determination Seguin would never be a reliable top center in their system. He certainly wouldn’t rate with their top two centers, David Krejci (plus-39) and Patrice Bergeron (plus-38), who were one-two in the NHL plus/minus category this season. Given Seguin's sizable cap hit over the term of his contract, they decided to make a move.
“When we make a trade, we look to see how we improve our team, and we went into that whole venture to improve our team." said Chiarelli. "We have improved our team."
And as for whether he feels vindicated in the face of the criticism . . .
"[There’s] no real vindication," he said. "It’s about improving our team, and finding ways to improve our team. [The Seguin trade] was one way. There’s no secret to the quality of player that we traded. It was not a surprise that he’s doing what he’s doing.
"On our side of the ledger, it’s about improving our team, and we thought we did.”
Clearly Boston’s regular season results speak to that team improvement as well. But a Stanley Cup title for the Bruins two months from now would drown out those trade critics even more effectively.