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No general manager on a Stanley Cup contender is under more pressure to make a significant trade at the deadline than Peter Chiarelli of the Boston Bruins.
His team thought they were getting Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames on Thursday, but the deal collapsed and he was dealt to the Penguins. He also lost out on Dallas Stars winger Brenden Morrow, who was acquired by the Penguins four days earlier.
Chiarelli talked about the deadline during a press conference on Thursday.
There’s players out there, and we’re in on players...There’s always other players. The circumstances change, as far as, from the [salary] cap perspective for next year. It’s going down, so you have to look – it makes rentals a little bit more valuable this year to a group of team, including ourselves...I’d like to add [a forward and a defenseman], and that’s kind of been my position from the beginning.
The Bruins' disappointing 3-1 loss to the 14th-place Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon highlighted the team's problems offensively. Boston had 67 total shot attempts against Philadelphia, but only scored one goal, which proves that Chiarelli needs to add a top-six forward to his roster who can bury these scoring chances.
Over their last eight games, the Bruins have scored more than two goals just one time. The team's power-play has also converted on only one of its last 16 opportunities. Top-six wingers Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand have combined for just three goals in the last 10 games.
Unless the Bruins add another reliable top-six forward before the deadline, we could see a repeat scenario of last year's playoffs when Boston did not have enough goal scoring to make it past the first round. Good defense and goaltending will only take a team so far in the postseason, you need to be able to score goals consistently to win the Stanley Cup.
Since the rental market is weak right now with Iginla and Morrow unavailable, Chiarelli will have to pursue players who don't have expiring contracts if he's to upgrade his team in a major way.
The asking prices for these players are normally higher than what teams want in return for rentals, and it will be interesting to see if the usually-conservative Chiarelli makes a bold move to bolster his team's chances of winning the Stanley Cup.
If Chiarelli doesn't make a move to counter Pittsburgh's acquisitions of Iginla and Morrow, the Bruins will not have the scoring depth needed to beat the Penguins in a seven-game playoff series.