Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Wednesday that when the New York Rangers bought out Wade Redden’s contract in January, there were exploratory talks about the defenseman coming to Boston.
Instead Redden, who played for Ottawa during Chiarelli’s tenure as an assistant GM there, signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the St. Louis Blues.
Chiarelli said that a couple months ago the circumstances weren’t right for a Redden signing. With a trade with the Blues before the deadline Wednesday, Chiarelli showed that the timing was finally right. Chiarelli acquired Redden for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2014. If Redden plays in a playoff game for the Bruins, the pick will be a sixth rounder.
The GM didn’t want to put any undue pressure on Redden, so Chiarelli stressed that this deal was done for depth purposes. Chiarelli mentioned how well Matt Bartkowski has played and how impressed he’s been with the development of Torey Krug.
“Part of what we’re trying to accomplish here is to win a Cup, but also to get these players in the lineup and get contributions from them,” Chiarelli said. “Now that’s not ultimately the priority right now but these are players that I’ve been happy with their progression. So Wade is here, and if he gets in and plays like I think he’s capable of playing, that will be a bonus.”
Chiarelli scouted Redden several times when the blueliner was playing in the minors. The New York Rangers had buried Redden in the AHL to keep his contract off their salary cap. By Redden’s second year in the minors, the veteran had accepted his fate and showed enough to pique the GM’s interest.
“Down there, he was in psychological jail,” Chiarelli said. “What I saw the second year was kind of his body language and his play improved. Now, Wade isn’t the player that he used to be. But he’s a very smart player, he can help us in certain ways. … He’s a good person too.”
Redden is not expected to be in Boston in time to play Thursday against New Jersey at TD Garden. Jaromir Jagr and Kaspars Daugavins are expected to be in.