Boston Bruins president Cam Neely was a guest of the Dale & Holley show Monday and talked about a variety of topics, including the selection of center Tyler Seguin with the second overall pick of the 2010 NHL Draft. Neely was asked if he expected Seguin to be the roster for Boston when the 2010 season begins.
"I'd be surprised if he doesn't," said Neely. "We are certainly counting on him to make our team, based on everything that I've been hearing from scouts. He should be able to make our lineup next year and it's a matter of what kind of impact he's going to have. But he should be able to make our lineup."
The Bruins made a trade just a few days prior to last Friday's draft, moving the 15th overall pick and veteran defenseman Dennis Wideman to the Florida Panthers in exchange for forwards Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell. Neely feels that Horton, five times a 20-goal scorer, will be a good fit in Boston.
"When you look at the 15th overall pick, although it's great pick and you hope to get a great player, those players are sometimes three or four years away from making your lineup," said Neely. "We have to get better offensively, we have to get some goal scorers, and Nathan was available. We had to give up a player like Dennis and that pick to get him, but we also got Campbell, who we also feel like is going to be a good fourth-line centerman for us.
We really believe that Nathan will come in here, get into a hockey market, get into the environment like we have here at the Garden with our fan base and get re-energized about playing hockey. In his worst year he scored 20 goals, but in his best year he scored over 30. And he's still young, he's 25 years old. He's a big body, loves to shoot the puck. He's a guy we felt strongly about trying to acquire to add to our offense."
Now armed with the title of president, Neely has the final word on all hockey matters for the Bruins. He was asked if he expects any conflict with general manager Peter Chiarelli, who had been the main decision-maker for the Bruins before the Neely promotion.
"Pete and I have had a good relationship in the three years that I've been here and I expect that to continue, " said Neely of Chiarelli. "I don't think it [the Neely/Chiarelli relationship] will change much from my perspective. It might be a better question for Pete. When I've talked to other people in this position that I'm in, it's been that you have to allow a GM to do his job. If you disagree too much then you have to figure out what is the right thing to do."
Tim Thomas has been the subject of many trade rumors this off-season. Neely was asked how difficult it would be to keep a backup goaltender making $5 million per season.
"Well, it's always difficult thing to judge," Neely said. "Not just with that scenario, but with everything else. You're trying to put the best team on the ice with what restrictions that you have with the cap. We certainly didn't think we'd be in this situation with Tuukka [Rask] kind of taking over. I know Tim is a very completive man and wants to be a No. 1 goaltender so regardless he's going to try and get that job back. So it's one of those things where, at any position, if you have players that aren't playing to their potential and have a big number that goes against the cap it's difficult."
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