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Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Chiarelli explains deal, B's plans for Jagr

By Joe McDonald



BOSTON -- After Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli pulled the trigger on a deal to acquire veteran forward Jaromir Jagr from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a pair of prospects and a draft pick, the GM spoke Tuesday with the future Hall of Famer and laid out the team's blueprint moving forward.

According to Chiarelli, Jagr was receptive to the role he would play in Boston in hopes of winning the organization's second Stanley Cup in a span of three years. The Bruins are not concerned with Jagr's age, 41, or that there's this notion his skills have deteriorated.

"He wants to win," Chiarelli said. "His game is still a strong power game. He was leading [Dallas] in scoring and you watch him play and you see a lot of what you used to see in him, so I'm confident Jaromir will accept any role he's given and he knows he's coming to a strong group and he'll help us out."

In the deal, the Bruins sent forward Lane MacDermid, unsigned prospect Cody Payne and a conditional second-round draft pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft in order to obtain Jagr's services. The Bruins receive a player with 1,380 career games played, 679 goals and 1,000 assists for 1,679 points. Also, his 195 career playoff goals ranks 18th all-time.

"His career speaks for itself," Chiarelli said. "He's a strong player, protects the puck well and consistent with our style, in the sense that there's a cycle element to his game. He's good on the half wall with a real good release shot. He's just a really good player. I know he's 41 but he's been one of their best players in Dallas, and last year he was one of Philly's best players and he gives us an element of offense."

The conditional second-round pick could become a first-round pick if the Bruins reach the Eastern Conference finals this season. That does not hinder Chiarelli from making another deal that could include this year's first-round pick, because if the conditional pick does vest this spring, then the next option would be a first-round pick in 2014.

Chiarelli learned late Monday night that Jagr would be available via the trade market, but the Bruins GM admitted there had already been some groundwork done. Jagr will join his new team on Wednesday and he'll wear his usual No. 68.

He has 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in 34 games this season with the Stars. That would put him fourth on the Bruins in scoring, behind Patrice Bergeron (31 points), Brad Marchand (28) and David Krejci (28).

Bruins coach Claude Julien could insert Jagr onto the team's third line along with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron. Once Chris Kelly -- who's out with a broken left tibia -- returns, a possible line of Jagr, Kelly and Peverley could be a strong combination for the Bruins, with speed and playmaking ability.

"We'll have to see where he fits in," Chiarelli said. "Obviously, there's a need on the third line, but he's got a higher-line pedigree. What I said to Jaromir was, we pride ourselves on four strong lines and he's an important part, but not the [only] part to success. So he could be on the third line. There's been times when our fourth line has been our third line, and vice versa, so it depends on who's going. We'll try to even it out and he seemed very receptive to that."

One place Jagr should help is on the Bruins' power play. Boston is ranked 24th in the NHL in power-play percentage at 15.2 percent (14-for-92). Jagr has scored six power-play goals this season with the Stars.

"He's a strong half wall player on the power play and he can roll off the top of the circle and really fire the wrist shot and make plays, so that'll help us out on the power play," Chiarelli said.

In the past, Jagr had a reputation as not being a team-first guy. But in recent years that perception has changed.

"He's a terrific player who's won some Cups and has been a superstar player, but I liken it a little to, and I told Jaromir this too, the addition of Mark Recchi," Chiarelli said. "You don't have to be the guy, but you're an important piece and you band together with your teammates. You've got the experience. You've got a certain skill set, size that will benefit the rest of the group. You've got the experience and you want to win still. That was an important question and he was very receptive to that."

Recchi was 40 years old when the Bruins acquired him from Tampa during the 2008-2009 seasons. He spent another two seasons in Boston and retired after he helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011. Even though Jagr will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, Chiarelli wouldn't necessarily classify the veteran as a rental player.

"It's a little early to tell," Chiarelli said. "I probably would have given you the same answer for Recchi when we got him, [and] we extended him twice."

Less than a week after a possible deal for this year's star-studded trade chip Jarome Iginla imploded on the Bruins when the future Hall of Famer decided he wanted to instead play with Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh, Chiarelli turned his focus on Jagr.

"This market these days is difficult because the prices are so high, and you have to try to judge who else is in on the game," Chiarelli said. "You don't want to overspend, but you want to get the player, you want to get help, you want to bolster the team and you want to win."

Chiarelli would still like to add another defenseman before Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline, but as of Tuesday afternoon the Bruins GM is happy with the team's latest addition.

"We got the player and we feel he will help us," Chiarelli said of Jagr.