Well, I woke up 20 minutes ago and it looks like all was quiet in Los Angeles during the overnight here on the East Coast. It’s 5:10 a.m. now in California so I think I have time to write this quickly before the GMs wake up and start wheeling and dealing again.
So, while I have a chance, let me spell out what I think Peter Chiarelli has to get done today and tomorrow to make the Bruins a better team heading into the July 1 free agency period and the the 2010-11 season. Obviously, readers of this space know that there are a lot of things Chiarelli has done before today that I wouldn’t have done. But I’ll take a shot at this anyway.
•Find three or four teams that are interested in Tim Thomas and then let him approve one or two of the destinations. Then make the best deal possible with one of those clubs. You owe it to Thomas, who has given all he’s got to make the Bruins relevant again, and you cannot bring Thomas back. Chiarelli is usually adept at preventing leaks, but Thomas’ agents’ confirmation that he has permission to shop Thomas makes it a cold, hard fact that Boston is looking to part with the goaltender. Thomas has always been a good soldier, but it won’t be fair to either side to bring him back after all that’s gone down. Thomas’ camp is trying to save face by stressing that it’s not actively looking to get out, but we all know the ultimate competitor does not want to spend next season bag skating with healthy scratches and giving Tuukka Rask scouting reports.
Even if it’s just a salary dump for a pick or a second-tier prospect, it’s important the Chiarelli get that $5 million off his salary cap before July 1 so he’ll have the maximum amount of room to work with in free agency. Then he can turn the disappointment of Thomas’ departure into a positive.
•Look at your roster without Marc Savard, regardless of what you get in return, and realize there’s no way the league’s worst offense gets better without its best performer. None of the players or picks rumored to be coming to Boston for Savard make them a better team in the here and now, when the Bruins are allegedly chasing the Stanley Cup. I fail to believe that anything Savard has done off or on the ice could have changed their opinion of him so quickly. He took a cap-friendly deal to stay here, so make it so. Keep Savard. More on this later.
•Get that Recchi deal done. Recchi is reportedly in California, Chiarelli is reportedly meeting with him. There can’t be too much space between the two sides in terms or salary or length of contract. Recchi’s value beyond his on-ice production is impossible to measure and a Bruins team that’s going to experience an influx of more youth this fall needs a mentor like Recchi. Of course, if Recchi decides he’d rather he playing in Pittsburgh or Washington or somewhere, then Chiarelli has to immediately figure out what available players bring the same attributes as Recchi to the rink.
•Don’t accidentally call Tyler Taylor. Just kidding. By now, Chiarelli and all of us have it straight and we know that Edmonton is not going to pass up Taylor Hall. Seguin is an excellent consolation prize and will fit nicely on the wing for a season or two alongside Savard or David Krejci. The Bruins get the best of both worlds: they get a great player and can never be second-guessed for not picking the other kid.