OTTAWA – The Boston Bruins were the most active players on a busy day of trades in the NHL.
The Bruins pulled the trigger twice Friday, acquiring defenceman Tomas Kaberle from Toronto, then sending forward Blake Wheeler and defenceman Mark Stuart to Atlanta for Rich Peverley and defenceman Boris Valabik.
Bruins coach Claude Julien likes the moves.
“I think our management group did a great job and it’s unfortunate that you lose players, but at the same time you’ve gained some good ones,”said Julien prior to Boston’s game in Ottawa on Friday.
Boston had been looking to solidify its back-end and the addition of Kaberle gives the Bruins the puck-moving defenceman they wanted.
“We feel Kaberle is definitely one of those guys that can provide us with that,”said Julien.“We also talked about our power play and needing somebody back there that can be a quarterback and he’s someone who’s done that for a long time.
“He covers a couple of important needs that we addressed over the course of the season.”
As for Peverley and Valabik, who are expected to join the team over the weekend, Julien believes they will add lineup depth.
“Peverley is one of those guys who has a bit of an edge to his game,”said Julien.“We’ve liked him every time we’ve played against him.
“He manages to get shots at the net and create some offence.”
Julien also likes that Peverley and Kelly can play centre and wing, which will allow them to cover any needs that could arise in case of injury.
Earlier in the day, GM Peter Chiarelli hinted he was done making big deals despite the trade deadline being Feb. 28.
Julien admitted the rumours have created some distractions for the players and knowing no big deals were on the horizon might help ease some of the pressure.
“The fact that we’re closer now to our final team is something that the guys will appreciate,” he said.
Kaberle was expected in Boston’s lineup for Friday’s game. Chris Kelly, acquired from the Senators Tuesday night, will also make his debut Friday.