By Mary Paoletti
BOSTON -- "Its a strong message to our team, to our fans," said Peter Chiarelli, "that we want to win, that we want to be successful."
The Bruins GM met with media Thursday about acquiring Tomas Kaberle from the Maple Leafs, as well as Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik from Atlanta. Boston forward Blake Wheeler and defenseman Mark Stuart were trade bait for the thrashers.
The move for Kaberle is a boon for Chiarelli, who has first pursued the Toronto defensemen two years ago.
"We felt that right now on the market there wasnt a player that was close to Kaberle," the GM said. Maybe in a week and a halfs time, maybe one or two might be on the market. I didnt want to wait. This is a player that we had at the top of the list.
"The list of defensemen who fit this bill was very, very short," Chiarelli continued. "We felt we had to act and act assertively. Things happen and sometimes you cant the guy you want. The pressure was us recognizing where we had the needs and acting on it. It wasnt out of emotion; this is something that weve looked at for a while."
In 58 games this season, the 32-year old has three goals and 35 assists for 38 points.
Kaberle's productivity comes with a price. Boston surrendered its first-round pick in the 2011 draft, a conditional second-round pick in 2012 and Providence standout Joe Colborne.
"Joe was the toughest one," said Chiarelli. "Giving up Joe was the toughest one. Hes a good person and he works hard at his craft. Hes young, hes exciting; part of our organization since we drafted him. Hes worked hard and had success. Theres your premium right there."
It sounds like locking Kaberle down for the long-term could make losing Colborne worthwhile.
"Hes a guy that we want to resign. From when you acquire him to when you sign him, it gives you a flavor of the player and how he fits into the group. Of course, theres a chance that we wont resign him, but I want to resign him, we want to resign him."
The GM was happy with the week's work. Kaberle joined Boston in Ottawa for a game against the senators Friday night. Valabik is due to report in Providence Saturday and Peverley will be in Boston by Sunday.
The trades accompany Tuesday's acquisition of Ottawa center Chris Kelly. Kelly is a two-way player "with an edge" who was brought in to soften the loss of Marc Savard. Peverley is a speed and skill guy with a wicked one-timer. While Chiarelli acknowledged the difficulty in giving letting some of his guys go, he feels the Bruins have taken the necessary steps to establish itself as a Cup contender.
"These are some pretty big moves in the last week, adding Chris Kelly and these two players. Weve added some significant skill and some grit at the same time, with Kelly, and we dont feel that weve subtracted too much.
"We felt the time was right with our team," Chiarelli said. "With the number of assets weve added in the last couple of years between picks and prospects... were in good position to make this transaction. Our cupboard is still very well stocked, so to speak."
The Bruins might be done dealing, 10 days before February's trade deadline.
"If I do anything else it will be something very small, unless something significant is available and fits. For the most part, were done."