So here's the cap situation for this year. Chia could trade for $12M in salary tomorrow and still be under the cap without giving up any current assets (or using LTIR status on Savvy). In other words the cap is not an issue for this year. The real issue comes next year. The Bruins have all key players signed except for Horton, Ference, Tuukka, and Khudobin, but they only have a little more than $11M to fill these gaps including the LTIR for Savvy.
So judging by this and judging by Chia's history of wanting to keep the team together, he will not want to trade for any pieces with commitments beyond this season. So here's a list of some players with expiring contracts on teams that may find themselves out of it:
-Jarome Iginla (CGY) - production is down so far, but he would help in so many ways
-Michael Ryder (DAL) - re-unite him with Kelly/Pevs for the occasional glove save at a key point
-Lubomir Visnovsky (NYI) - want nothing to do with him
-Mike Ribeiro (WAS) - charter member of Les Habitantes diving squad in early 2000's
-Jaromir Jagr (DAL) - mulletude
-Milan Hejduk (COL) - still got some skills in those old legs and is veteran of cup team
-Ron Hainsey (WPG) - solid player
-Nik Antropov (WPG) - lotta unknowns with this guy
-Robyn Regehr (BUF) - great guy for a playoff run
-Derek Roy (DAL) - too soft for my liking
-Ryan Whitney (EDM) - healthy scratch lately and enough is enough bringing local folks back
Guys with expiring contracts on teams that probably won't sell:
-Ryane Clowe (SJS) - San Jose has been awful ever since Scotty Gomez showed up, would be a nice fit
-Rob Scuderi (LAK) - LA off to horrible start, if it continues what better rental is there on the blueline?
-Alex Semin (CAR) - Carolina looks like they will contend so I doubt he's available
-Steve Sullivan (PHX) - Could play Recchi role in 2013
I put Clowe in there just so I could take a shot at Scott Gomez.
Here's a refresher on what Chia did back in 2011:
1. Chris Kelly for a 2nd round pick (Kelly had one year remaining at a cheap $2.125M cap hit which added to his value)
2. Tomas Kaberle for a 1st, Conditional 2nd, and Joe Colborne
3. Peverley and Valabik were acquired for Wheeler and Stuart
If you remember, all three of these deals were completed well in advance of the trading deadline.
Last year he only acquired depth and all on deadline day and the team fizzled out in the first round. Rolston, Mottau, and Zanon were acquired for the sum of Kampfer, Riendeau, and Cantin. No picks were dealt.
So what's he going to do this year? Emulate 2011 or 2012? I'd say it'd be closer to 2011. The trouble with the lockout is about the only team you can rule out of the playoffs at this point is Columbus so teams aren't chomping at the bit to sell off pieces.
Of the guys listed above, here's how I'd rank them weighted towards teams more likely to be sellers:
Section 311 is boldly projecting two of these players and a third depth acquisition for Chia in 2013. Hejduk or Ryder would be the Chris Bourque replacement for the 3rd line/2nd PP or an injury replacement if one of the other top 8 guys goes down. Iginla would create some competition in the top 6 which would be healthy. Regehr or Hainsey would be solid depth to replace an inevitable injury to one of the top 6 on the blueline and would also create healthy competition when all 7 were healthy.
What will these guys cost?
First, highly doubtful Chia trades anyone from the roster (To assclown talk-show callers out there: no, we would not receive anything for Chris Bourque. They got him for Zach Hamill which is only slightly more than a bag of pucks and his performance on the ice so far doesn't have pro scouts drooling. You'll just have to trust me on this). Only roster player scenario I see would be Khudobin and this assumes that he puts up great numbers in fill-in duty and that the transaction was completed on deadline day itself (with the team comfortably in playoff position) because Rask needs to be escorted along to the playoffs with days off. If Khudobin performs well this season, Chia will have difficulty affording to bring both he and Rask back for next year and he has Sveddy Balls and PK Jr. in the system.
So, using history as a guide, Ryder/Hejduk would be similar to the Kelly deal. Iginla would be similar to the Kaberle deal (Kaberle had a lot higher stock back then remember). Regehr/Hainsey is likely somewhere in between because demand will be higher for blueliners and bidding wars are more likely.
Another Chia favorite is the old man transaction. Recchi and Pandolfo for example. I don't think "all-the-way Jay**" is projected for playoff minutes. Hejduk fits that mold as would Stevie Sullivan or even Jaromir Jagr. Don't think Chia would want Jagr's personality in the mix though.
So there's your 2013 Chiarelli predictions. We'll see how they pan out, but there is no reason not to mortgage the future with picks and prospects to make a run at it this year. The only thing that should derail a spending spree a la 2011 would be a catastrophic injury: Chara, Bergy, or Rask.
**Name we gave Jay Pandolfo on NHL '99 when EA Sports blessed him with some good video game speed.