The Edmonton Oilers have a new GM and president of hockey operations.
On Friday, the Oilers announced the hiring of former Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli at a media conference.
Despite being fired by the Bruins at the end of the 2014-15 regular season, Chiarelli is highly regarded around the hockey world.
The 50-year-old Harvard graduate worked as a player agent prior to joining the Ottawa Senators in a front office role in 1999. He worked his way up the organization – becoming the team’s assistant general manager – before he was hired as the general manager of the the Bruins in 2006.
Almost immediately, Chiarelli helped transform the Original Six franchise into a contender. Under his watch, the Bruins made the playoffs every season from 2007 to 2014 and won the Stanley Cup in 2010-11.
With that in mind, here are three of the best and three of the worst moves throughout Chiarelli’s memorable tenure with the Bruins:
THE THREE BEST:
1) Signing Chara as a free agent: The Bruins made a monster splash on the first day of free agency in 2006 by signing the top player available on the market. The Bruins signed 6-foot-9 defenceman Zdeno Chara to a four-year deal worth $37.5 million. It was a home run. Chara immediately became the club’s captain and played a pivotal role in returning the organization to prominence. The shutdown defenceman won the Norris Trophy in 2008-09 and was among the best at his position for almost a decade in Black and Gold.
2) The Phil Kessel trade: Unable to sign his top scorer, Chiarelli dealt Phil Kessel to Toronto for a pair of first-round picks and a second-rounder. Unfortunately for Toronto, those first round picks yielded the Bruins centre Tyler Seguin and defenceman Dougie Hamilton. It was a career-defining deal for Chiarelli — until he screwed it up a few years later (you’ll read about that in the section below).
3) Hiring Claude Julien: The decision to bring in Dave Lewis didn’t work out, but Chiarelli reacted quickly to make up for it. The decision to hire Claude Julien in 2007 played a pivotal role in shaping the Bruins into a championship team. The club brought in Julien after he was fired mid-season by the New Jersey Devils and it turned out to be an excellent fit. Julien’s style worked well with the personnel Chiarelli was building and they built a team that perfectly represented the city of Boston.
THE THREE WORST:
1) Trading Tyler Seguin to Dallas: Chiarelli’s logic was somewhat reasonable. Seguin was coming off a rough playoff performance — one goal in 22 games — and his behaviour off the ice was concerning the organization. But it was clear from the get-go that the Bruins gave up on Seguin too early. They did not receive enough compensation from the Dallas Stars — acquiring Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser — in return for a potential superstar. Seguin immediately flourished in Dallas, developing into the quality scorer the Bruins lacked this season. The move set the franchise back.
2)Trading Versteeg for Bochenski: In 2007, the Bruins not only gave away Versteeg, a blooming AHL player, but also had to deal a conditional draft pick in order to acquire forward Brandon Bochenski from the Chicago Blackhawks. Versteeg developed into a solid NHLer — winning a Stanley Cup in Chicago — while Bochenski played a total of 50 games with Boston. There’s nothing special about Versteeg, but the deal was a clear reflection of poor asset managemnt.
3) Trading Boychuk to the Islanders: The Bruins framed this deal as a salary dump, but it was a symptom of a bigger issue: Chiarelli’s team was too tight up against the cap. That’s a reflection of his management. The deal not only hurt the Bruins in the short-term, it boosted another team in their conference. Boychuk had a monster year while Boston was never able to replace Boychuk’s presence and production. A lack of quality defencemen played a large role in the Bruins’ early demise.