Readers of this blog are going to be a little shocked, but I consider the acquisition of Tomas Kaberle a win.
The secondary deal with Atlanta makes Boston a little better, but that’s not the one everybody cares about. The trade with Toronto for Kaberle that lands Joe Colborne, a first-round pick and a conditional second-round pick in the Maple Leafs’ hands is the big one. And I give it a thumbs up. Here’s why:
Obviously, I wanted the Bruins to reach a little higher up the NHL hierarchy to find their big-time deadline acquisition. But if Kaberle is the biggest-name defenseman making a move between now and Feb. 28, and star forwards like Brad Richards aren’t going to spring into the available category, then it’s heartening to see general manager Peter Chiarelli finally ante up to add some immediate help by parting with a piece of the would-be future.
We won’t know how this deal compares to others around the league until after the deadline. But when you look at the Bruins’ pick, it’s going to be in the late first round — where a player taken might not help you for two to three years at the earliest. The conditional pick means you’ve either made the Stanley Cup final or locked up your No. 2 D for the long term. Those are conditions any Bruins fan should accept.
And then there’s Colborne. By all accounts, a great kid, a hard worker and a future top-six forward in this league with the potential to be a leader among men. But where was he going to fit in with Boston over the next few years? Patrice Bergeron, Gregory Campbell, David Krejci, Marc Savard, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverly are all veteran centers signed beyond this year. Tyler Seguin, who projects as a center, is considered the future face of the franchise. The rest of the prospect pool features Jordan Caron and Jared Knight, two wingers, center Ryan Spooner and the versatile Max Sauve. Plus, you still have the Leafs’ potential top-10 (at worst) pick.
It’s a gamble that Colborne doesn’t become the next superstar. Considering the Leafs’ scouting track record, that’s a risk the Bruins had to be willing to take.
Basically, the Bruins finally traded from their position of strength and added to their area of weakness and did it with little shake-up of their NHL roster. I’m not planning a late-June parade down Causeway Street. But I can at least tell that Chiarelli is thinking about tasting some success sooner than 2014, which is the year I thought he was really focused on prior to this deal.