BOSTON -- When Wade Redden was acquired from the Blues at the NHL trade deadline last month, it was understood by all that it was a depth move by GM Peter Chiarelli. In fact, it was such a depth move that Boston sent a conditional 2014 seventh-round pick to St. Louis in the deadline deal, with the pick becoming a 2014 sixth-rounder if he plays at least one playoff game in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. That pick will very likely change to a sixth-rounder tonight as Redden figures to be in the Bruins lineup when they host the Maple Leafs in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series at TD Garden.
Redden has earned head coach Claude Julien’s trust, playing like the puck-moving defenseman that patrolled the Ottawa blue line in their heyday in the mid-2000s and that helped lead them to the Stanley Cup finals in 2007 (the Senators lost to the Randy Carlyle-coached Ducks in five games). He had a goal and in an assist in the final three games of the Bruins' regular season, and Julien believes Redden’s experience and recent play can help Boston in the playoffs.
“I think Wade feels pretty good about himself right now,” Julien said. “I mean, he’s
had some tough years, as far as where he was, whether how he’s been traded and
everything else, but he’s come in here and he’s got a fresh chance to prove himself.
The games that he played, he moved the puck extremely well. His experience is
invaluable, and his confidence right now is pretty good. When you have Wade in that
zone, he becomes a pretty good player.”
Those tough years Julien spoke of came after Redden signed a six-year, $39 million deal with the Rangers in the summer of 2008 but then watched his game decline so drastically that he ended up playing for the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford for the last two seasons. Thanks to the rules of the former CBA, the Rangers couldn’t bring him back up and be totally exempt from his salary even if a team claimed him. So Redden was held hostage basically until the Rangers used a tool of the new CBA, the compliance buyout, and freed him from hockey purgatory. Redden was signed by the Blues early this season, and now with the Bruins he has a chance at the Stanley Cup again.
A clearly excited Redden told the media after the Bruins’ morning skate that he is just going to go out, play his game and be thankful for another opportunity in the playoffs.
“You never know what’s in store for you,” Redden said. “I went down, I approached
the game [the way] I always have. That hasn’t changed today, so I’m just going to play my
game, go out there and have some fun. I’m looking forward to it. This is what we all play for this time of year. Everything is on the line, so it’s going to be fun. I’m going to try to
enjoy as much as I can. It’s obviously an intense atmosphere. To try to go out there,
play loose and play free. That’s the best way to approach it.”
Redden, 35, joked that he is envious of the young Bruins core that has already won a Stanley Cup.
“You gotta go out, earn the right to get it, and obviously these guys did at a young age,” Redden said. “I’m happy to be here with them now.”