Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli conducted a conference call with media to discuss the re-signing of forward Daniel Paille and the first day of NHL free agency.
Paille was inked to a two-year deal at a reported $2.15 million, which saves a slight amount on his former cap hit of $1.3 million.
"I think Dan has the ability to play up the lineup," Chiarelli said when asked if Paille was seen as a fourth-liner next season. "With him it's about confidence. He didn't have a lot of confidence in Buffalo, but I think you saw some really good spurts with us."
Chiarelli lauded Paille for his size, speed and ability to forecheck, adding that perhaps too much was expected of No. 20 when injuries deep-sixed the B's in the playoffs, but if he can regain his confidence, he could play a bigger role with the team than just on the penalty kill.
Chiarelli also said that he talked to a few agents and GMs today, but nothing has materialized. He did say that he discussed possible options with the agents for unrestricted free agents Steve Begin and Miroslav Satan, but that if at all (he termed it putting them in a "holding pattern"), they would be revisited at a later date and that the Bruins are pretty well set with the UFA shopping list as it stands today.
"I've gotta leave some spots open for competition for the younger guys," he said with respect to positions at forward and whether he was looking to sign anyone else on the market.
Chiarelli also indicated that there weren't a lot of surprises today, and that with the exception of one or two defensemen, most of the key targets he anticipated as being in demand were indeed already off the market. The forward crop was thinner, but Ilya Kovalchuk is still out there. The B's GM chalked that up to fewer suitors in line for the dynamic winger's services, meaning a deal will take a little longer to hammer out.
As far as goalies went, there were fewer big signings and at shorter money than we've seen in the past.
"I would say that there were some goalies who took a bit of a haircut from what they were earning," said Chiarelli.
He also addressed the status of RFAs Blake Wheeler, Greg Campbell and Mark Stuart (and Adam McQuaid), saying that he'll look to them next to reach agreements to stick around in Boston, and was optimistic he can get something done. "I think we can get them back in the mix," he said when asked if he could do it with the team's remaining cap space (not including any movement via potential trades). "It might be a little tight."
Even the infamous Carl Soderberg's name came up, with Chiarelli saying that he'd initially been told that the Swedish Secret would come to camp by Soderberg's agent, but then the player changed his mind and signed with an SEL team. The Bruins still hold his rights for "a couple more years" and Chiarelli said the B's would keep an eye on him. But, it is looking less and less like Soderberg is any kind of option for the Bruins if he shows no inclination to compete for a spot at a time when the club is thin on forwards and he has a better-than-normal chance of making it.
Chiarelli added that he expected trade talks to resume in the coming days as the primary (free agent) market gets settled and teams get a better handle on their needs and what is still available either in free agency or on rosters. I still think that Tim Thomas is a player that the Bruins want to move, and Washington makes sense, as the Capitals were quiet today via free agency and still have a big hole in net to fill. I got another tip that led me to believe the two teams are talking, but won't share that right now. We'll see where this goes.
When asked if anything he saw/read/heard today made him laugh, Chiarelli was pretty diplomatic, saying that he was oversaturated with information coming in, but that he knows the reality of the team's situation.
"Those rumors are bound to happen," he said, perhaps a tacit acknowledgement of the effect teachnology and the new social media has on the instantaneous ability to break stories much faster than a decade ago.