Chiarelli talks cap space, trade flexibility

BOSTON -- With Tim Thomas' contract off the books, Boston Bruins general Peter Chiarelli has more cap space to play with this season and next.

But the Bruins have a solid core and the team is already built to win now, so just because Chiarelli has some money to play with, don't think he's going to hurry up and spend it.

"I may be wrong, but available players are going to be scarce," Chiarelli said during a conference call Thursday to announce the Thomas trade to the New York Islanders. "Because of the condensed season, we're trying to figure out the market, when it starts and the ebbs and flows of it. I wanted to be in a position where if something comes along now, because sometimes there are deals when guys try to move guys early, I wanted to be in a position that we would be in the ballgame.

"We've got a good team and that doesn't mean we're gonna go out and get somebody because we have this cap space right now, but sometimes, in my experience, there are deals that come early and you have to be in the ballgame, and we're in the ballgame now. That was the proactive approach that we wanted to take."