Three best, worst Peter Chiarelli moves in Boston

Bob Nicholson made it official, naming former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli as president of hockey operations and general manager of the Edmonton Oilers.

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:


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.


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.

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