If Peter Chiarelli was more like the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stan Bowman, perhaps he would still be the Boston Bruins general manager.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs thinks Chiarelli has “a great hockey mind,” but ultimately Boston found itself in a difficult situation.
“It’s a cap environment we find ourselves in here, and you’ve got to look to the future,” Jacobs told CSN New England. “If you watch the success of the Chicago team, and I do admire them quite a bit, they dealt with their high-priced players early on and kept creating room. Every year, there was a change, not too unlike the change we see here (this year). We see some great players going elsewhere. Even to this year, you see very successful teams have met that problem.
“We didn’t deal with it in a timely enough manner and we found ourselves in a cap position that wasn’t attractive for us.”
As Jacobs alluded to, new Bruins GM Don Sweeney traded away Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic this summer in moves that improved the Bruins’ cap situation. Although Jacobs said that the decision to fire Chiarelli was ultimately made by his son, Charlie, and team president Cam Neely, the Bruins owner does feel that Chiarelli “wasn’t prepared to make the changes that needed to be made.”
Of course, a willingness to trade good players to avoid getting into cap problems isn’t everything. Sweeney’s era with Boston will ultimately be dictated in large part based on the return on those deals as well as Boston’s success in the draft because the thing about maintaining a high level of play as Chicago has is that you’ll need capable replacements for those you were forced to part ways with.