There is one surety for Peter Chiarelli on the current trade market: He won’t find another Dennis Seidenberg out there.
But that doesn’t mean that defense isn’t the focus for the Bruins general manager as he looks ahead to the trade deadline March 5, just 10 days after the rosters unfreeze after the Olympic break.
Chiarelli was clear that he is looking for some defensive depth for his team, which played admirably in two games without Zdeno Chara (and Adam McQuaid) heading into the break, while he is satisfied with his personnel on offense and in goal. But that won’t be easy to find.
“There’s really not that many players available, so beggars can’t be choosers, really, at this point,” Chiarelli said. “With each passing game, I see our D maturing, I see them making less mistakes. It makes it a little easier on me.
“But I always feel that we need eight good NHL defenders going into the playoffs. While I’m certainly not going to replace Seidenberg — he’s too good and those players aren’t available — you’d like to think that there is a player with a little bit of Seid’s defending that we could find.”
Chiarelli said that perhaps two or three of the names that are out there on the market would be considered top-four defenders, while the rest would be options at the bottom of the rotation. If he can’t acquire one of those top-four type players, he did say he would be comfortable continuing with Matt Bartkowski in that role.
It will help, too, that Chiarelli said that he expects McQuaid to return to the team either at the start of play after the Olympic break, or close to it. McQuaid has been out since Jan. 19 with a leg injury, and has played in just 30 of the Bruins’ 57 games this season, with three separate stints out because of injury.
Defenseman David Warsofsky has provided depth, but he was sent back to Providence after recording his first career assist Saturday.
Part of the issue regarding player acquisition this season is the salary cap. Chiarelli, who called it a “tough market,” said that the lowered cap means that fewer teams are willing to give up roster players. That’s the position that he finds himself in this season, as well.
“I don’t want to give up any roster players, so I don’t see [the market] changing,” he said. “Therefore, what is going to be the result is high, high prices.”
As he said, with the understanding that he won’t find another Seidenberg, “I want the ability to defend, I want a little bit of heaviness.”
To do that, he said he would consider both short-term rental players, as well as players with contracts that go beyond this season.
“There is not much of a market right now,” Chiarelli said. “But I like the personality of our team, so if we don’t end up doing anything, then we don’t end up doing anything and I’m OK.”
A bloody shame
Loui Eriksson, who had his mouth repaired after a high-stick against the Blues Thursday, started bleeding again in the second period Saturday and missed some time. He had spent a couple of hours getting his teeth fixed Friday but chose not to wear a cage for extra protection against the Senators.
“I had a mouth guard on so it was lucky I had that on or else I probably wouldn’t have any upper front teeth,” Eriksson said. “When you get the stick up there, you don’t know what happened. I was lucky it wasn’t too bad.”
Eriksson received seven stitches on his lip, which was still swollen after the game. He avoided more stitches Saturday, as his mouth eventually stopped bleeding, and returned to the ice for the rest of the second and third periods.
Eriksson will head off to the Olympics to play with Team Sweden, and said his team has “a really good chance” to win.
“I’ve been through a lot the last couple months, so I am looking forward to going to the Olympics, and then come back here and start playing well and be healthy,” Eriksson said.
Paille departs in 3d
Daniel Paille missed the third period of Saturday’s game. Julien, who was short on specifics, said the move was precautionary. Brad Marchand took some shifts on the Merlot line in his place. Julien added of Paille, “He’ll be fine when we get back, from what I hear.” . . . Kevan Miller showed himself to be a player not to mess with in a first-period fight with Zack Smith. The Senators center, who is listed at exactly the same size as Miller, was clearly beaten in a one-sided bout at 17:18 of the period. “It was more of just the situation in the game, I didn’t really need to prove anything,” Miller said. “The opportunity arises and it’s part of my game.” Asked about McQuaid’s likely return after the break, Miller said, “Like I said from Day 1, I’m kind of taking it one day at a time and not really focusing on the future. I’m trying to play every game, be consistent, and let the cards fall as they may.”