While a lot of credit has to be given to the play of Boston Bruins players such as Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Mark Recchi and many others for the Stanley Cup victory, general manager Peter Chiarelli deserves a lot of credit as well.
Chiarelli deserves props for not only the moves he made to make the Bruins a formidable threat in the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but he also deserves high marks for not making some moves that could have potentially hurt the team.
When it comes to moves Chiarelli made, picking up forward Nathan Horton and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg immediately come to mind. The 26-year-old Horton finished with 53 points (26 goals and 27 assists) and was having himself a terrific first postseason until he was knocked out by Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome. Up until that point, Horton had 17 points (8 goals and 9 assists) in 21 games and was making a case for himself to be a potential Conn Smythe Trophy winner.
Going back to the trade deadline last year, acquiring Seidenberg was also a terrific move by Chiarelli. The 29-year-old defenseman played in all 81 games this season, picking up 32 points (7 goals and 25 assists) and playing big-time minutes with Zdeno Chara. Seidenberg was also one of the team's best defensemen in the playoffs as he logged a ton of ice time and had 11 points (1 goal and 10 assist).
Chiarelli was also smart in picking up players such as Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley this past February. When Horton went down with an injury, Peverley took his place on the top line and did everything right for the Bruins. He picked up four points in the Cup final and was everything the Bruins needed him to be.
The same can be said of Kelly. The 30-year-old forward picked up 13 points (5 goals and 8 assists) in the postseason and fit right in with the Bruins' hard forechecking style of play.
While Chiarelli gave up a lot for the services of Tomas Kaberle, the defenseman was solid in the final two rounds, compared to his disappointing first impression in Boston.
When it comes down to it, it was two moves that Chiarelli did not make that might have given the Bruins' the Cup. The first non-move was goaltender Tim Thomas. Due to the great play of Tuukka Rask, Thomas was on the trading block last summer and when no one bit, Thomas stayed on and ended up having a Vezina Trophy-caliber season and finished the season with a Cup and a Conn Smythe Trophy.
Chiarelli also hung onto head coach Claude Julien. When the team blew a 3-0 series lead last spring against Philadelphia, or struggled at different points in the season, many were calling for Julien to be replaced. Both Chiarelli and the players stuck by him and everyone ended up happy.
Lastly, when Chiarelli was hired in 2006, only two Bruins on that current roster were on this Cup-winning team (Patrice Bergeron and Tim Thomas). It wasn't like he adopted a team already built for greatness; Chiarelli basically had to rebuild the entire roster.
Chiarelli deserves a lot of credit for what went on in Boston this year because, just like his team did on the ice, he delivered when it mattered most.
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