GM Peter Chiarelli did a few interesting things with tonight's Bruins' trade of winger Chuck Kobasew to the Minnesota Wild for current AHL right winger Craig Weller(notes), the rights to Harvard freshman forward Alex Fallstrom and a second-round pick in 2011.
First, he cleared $2.3 million off the books for this season and, more importantly, for 2010-11, with Tuuka Rask (RFA), Blake Wheeler(notes) (RFA) and most notably Marc Savard(notes) (UFA) looking at new deals by next summer.
But as WEEI's Joe Haggerty points out, it's also a multi-faceted move to give an underwhelming B's team (3-4-0) a kick in the rear: Not only is an underperforming (but much-appreciated) winger sent packing, but the financial flexibility Boston gains with this trade will encourage more competition in the lineup. From Haggs:
Clearing Kobasew's $2.3 million off the books allows Chiarelli plenty of cap room to bring up extra bodies from Providence, and also allows B's coach Claude Julien to introduce the bench to players that aren't giving their full effort out on the ice. Kobasew had a single assist in seven games this season, and really hadn't been much of a factor skating with Patrice Bergeron(notes) and Mark Recchi(notes). There wasn't much roster competition when the B's couldn't afford to carry any extra players on their active roster through the first handful of games, and now Julien has that tool in his coaching bag.
Finally, it's savvy move by a GM whose team is, despite its stumble out of the gate, on the short list of legit Stanley Cup contenders. CBC's Elliotte Friedman notes that the Boston Bruins now have two first-rounders next summer (thanks, Burkie) and the Wild's second-round pick in 2011 in their war chest. Chiarelli will be dealing from a stacked deck at the trade deadline, when the cap becomes a bit more manageable.
As for the Wild, they get a quiet dude who works harder than most playing down in the lineup. He hasn't found his game this season, but when he does you know what you get: Around 20 goals and some energetic shifts that can help flip the momentum in a game. He's a sparkplug. He's also a healthy body at forward for Minny, something in short order right now.
Two additions to long-term injured reserve occurred right around this trade, as the Wild sent Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) to LTIR and the Bruins placed Milan Lucic on LTIR with a broken finger he suffered in a game against Dallas last week. Looch has three assists in six games and will now miss a few weeks -- not exactly a sterling audition for Team Canada.