Opinion

Peter Chiarelli At The Trade Deadline: Part One

Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli spoke to the media yesterday and fielded questions regarding the upcoming NHL trade deadline, which will take place in just 13 days. The Oilers appear to be in position to be a buyer at the annual deadline, but how much of a splash they will make is still up in the air.

Chiarelli, for his part, is downplaying being a major player, saying the following

If the GM is to be believed at his word (I don’t trust any GM or coach this time of year), then Oiler fans should expect a quiet March 1st. That said, PC also downplayed last year before moving out a handful of players and adding Patrick Maroon from Anaheim.

Bottom line is verbal can only go so far. Actions speak louder than words and every GM in the NHL is posturing right now as the market sets itself up. I wouldn’t read much into Chiarelli’s comments yesterday, instead I’d read into his previous actions as a GM at the deadline.

Let’s go back to 2007, his first year in Boston (as a seller) and then go forward.

2007:

January 16th: Boston trades F Yan Stastny to St. Louis in exchange for a 2007 5th round pick

February 1st: Boston trades D Milan Jurcina to Washington in exchange for a conditional 2008 4th round pick

February 3rd: Boston trades F Kris Versteeg to Chicago for F Brandon Bochenski and a conditional 2008 5th round pick

February 10th: Boston trades D Brad Stuart, F Wayne Primeau, conditional 2008 4th round pick to Calgary for D Andrew Ference and F Chuck Kobasew

February 27th (Deadline Day): Boston trades D Paul Mara to NY Rangers for D Aaron Ward; Boston trades F Brad Boyes to St. Louis for D Dennis Wideman

Chiarelli was clearly selling at this deadline and was setting the Bruins up for the future. Wideman, Ward, Kobasew and Ference would all have an impact on the Bruins for many years and helped that team emerge as a true NHL power. Personally, I think this is far and away Chiarelli’s finest hour, as he added four legit pieces to his NHL roster.

Patrick Maroon’s addition last year is a great comparable for PC’s moves in 2007, a younger veteran who can help for multiple years.

2008:

December 6th (2007): Boston trades F Nate DiCasmirro and a 2009 5th round pick to Arizona for G Alex Auld

January 2nd: Boston trades F Brandon Bochenski to Anaheim for D Shane Hnidy, 2008 6th round pick

February 26th (Deadline Day): Bruins made zero trades

This was the first season Chiarelli made the playoffs in Boston. He let his young core do the work and earn the eastern conference’s 8th seed. Chiarelli addressed a glaring need in December by acquiring a backup goalie, while Hnidy was a solid bottom pairing defender at the time. PC addressed some depth issues, which may be the case this season.

2008 is the best comparable, situation wise, to this year’s Oilers. Neither team was a serious threat to win the Cup, but both are clearly playoff teams. Chiarelli didn’t mortgage the future here, rather he took what was given to him and let his young core figure it out and gain the needed experience. I think we could see a mirror image of 2008 in 13 days.

2009:

March 4th (Deadline Day): Boston trades F Petteri Nokelainen to Anaheim for D Steve Montador; Boston trades D Matt Lashoff and F Martins Karsums to Tampa Bay for F Mark Recchi and a 2010 2nd round pick

The Bruins emerged as a legit threat this season, clinching the east’s number one seed and President’s Trophy. Recchi would be a huge part of Boston’s next few teams, winning a Cup with the club in 2011. He addressed a major issue of veteran depth a scoring ability up front.

Montador continued a trend of Chiarelli adding a veteran hand to help his defense, a yearly occurrence in Boston from 2008 on. This is a trend I believe Oiler fans should get used to, it’s the GM’s bread and butter.

2010:

March 2nd: Boston trades a conditional 4th round pick to Anahiem for rights to D Steve Kampfer

March 3rd (Deadline Day): Boston trades F Matt Marquardt to Edmonton for D Cody Wild; Boston trades D Derek Morris to Arizona for a 2011 conditional draft choice; Boston trades F Craig Weller, F Byron Bitz and a 2010 2nd round pick to Florida for D Dennis Seidenberg and D Matt Bartkowski

Morris, a hot commodity the previous deadline, didn’t work out for Boston and Chiarelli wasn’t afraid to move his recent UFA signing out right away. The Seidenberg deal didn’t get a lot of love at the time, but it proved to be key for the Bruins as Seidenberg was one of Boston’s best defenders during the 2011 Cup run. PC tinkered his defensive group and managed to upgrade the Bruins in a huge way.

This deadline could also be a template for this year’s Oilers. Would Chiarelli move Brandon Davidson for a draft choice and then move some pieces in the system for a lesser name that fits the bill, perhaps this time looking for a forward? 2010 could be another year that mirrors what we see on March 1st.

2011:

February 15th: Boston trades a 2011 2nd round pick to Ottawa for F Chris Kelly

February 18th: Boston trades F Blake Wheeler and D Mark Stuart to Atlanta for F Rich Peverley and D Boris Valabik; Boston trades F Joe Colborne, a 2011 first round pick and a conditional 2012 2nd round pick to Toronto for D Tomas Kaberle

February 27th: Boston trades F Brain McGrattan and D Sean Zimmerman to Anaheim for F David Laliberte and F Stefan Chaput

February 28th (Deadline Day): Boston trades D Jeff Penner and the rights to F Mikko Lehtonen to Minnesota for G Anton Khudobin

Here we see Chiarelli load up for a Stanley Cup, paying a premium for Kaberle and Peverley in separate deals. Boston went on to win a Stanley Cup, so I can’t argue the end result, but this deadline was not a good one for Chiarelli. Kaberle, to my eyes, was one of Boston’s worst players during the 2011 playoffs while Wheeler has emerged as a star.

We won’t have to worry about paying this premium this time around, however, as the Oilers aren’t at this desperate stage yet. Chiarelli was actually fighting for his job here after two straight second round exits, including the blown 3-0 lead to Philadelphia in 2010. We aren’t there yet, Chiarelli is secure in his job.

I’ll be back tomorrow morning to take a look at 2012-the current year.

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