Bruins’ Chiarelli should center his focus on Senators’ Fisher

Bruins should get Fisher/Underwood

There’s only one move that general manager Peter Chiarelli could make that would not only improve his team’s chances at winning the Stanley Cup and raise the Bruins and the city’s Q rating.

And he should really do all he can to make this happen: trade for Ottawa center Mike Fisher, who’s one half of hockey’s biggest-name celebrity couple along with country music star Carrie Underwood.

Today CapGeek.com explained that the Bruins will have about $4 million of cap room at the trade deadline to replace Marc Savard now that the star center is on LTIR. And Chiarelli acknowledged that he is going to be looking to make some moves that will fill Savard’s spot as best as the team can.

“I’ve said this on numerous occasions, we’ve built the team down the middle, or strength down the middle with our centermen. Obviously, there’ll be a gap now,” said the GM. “So we’re going to have to look to fill that gap. We’re not going to be able to replace Marc. So we’re going to have to be a little more diligent and see what’s out there. Right now, we’re looking at Zach Hamill up the middle. [We] don’t know if he’s the answer or not. We want to go far in the playoffs and we want some experience too, so … we’re obviously going to have some flexibility now with replacement players so we’ll, in the next few weeks prior to the trade deadline, we’ll be busy.”

Let me start by saying we don’t know for sure that Ottawa would deal Fisher, who is 30 and holds a partial no-trade clause. The team is definitely looking to move veterans. But they’re more apt to move some of their older, potential unrestricted free agents (Chris Phillips for example) in an attempt to rebuild than move a cornerstone player like Fisher. That’s why the Bruins should put the Senators in a position where they can’t say know to dealing their hard-working center.

With a $4.2 million cap hit and a contract that extends two more seasons after this, Fisher might be a tight fit, especially beyond this season. But there are so many reasons why he’s worth the risk involved in giving up assets for him and having him on your payroll beyond this year.

This season, Fisher has been victimized by playing on a dreadful Ottawa team that has spent a large chunk of time without No. 1 center Jason Spezza. Fisher’s 14 goals (24 points) in 53 games are off his pace of a year ago, when he set a career high with 25 goals and 53 points. He’s also a minus-15. Put this guy on a team with the Bruins’ depth, and those numbers would get right back on track.

The great McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook tells you all you need to know about Fisher and why he’d fit into Boston’s short-term and long-term plans like a hand into a glove. This line from the McKeen’s scouting report sums it up:

“Speedy, gritty workhorse inspires teammates with his unparalleled work habits and consistent physical presence.”

Sure, he’s not the power-play point-producer that would replace Savard one for one, but that’s where David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron would have to continue to elevate their games. With the way he’s been scoring lately, Bergeron deserves less of a defensive burden, which Fisher could take on.

Many still think the Bruins should still direct their attentions on the trade market to the defense corps, and there’s no doubt they still need to sure up things back there. But there’s no reason why they can’t both upgrade on defense and fill in for Savard with something better than a combination of Zach Hamill, Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin. They have plenty of draft picks and prospects to dazzle would-be partners.

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