General manager Peter Chiarelli made it clear yesterday, he never considered trading away one or more of the Bruins’ veterans explicitly to clear salary-cap space in order to give free agents Reilly Smith and Torey Krug deals more to their liking.

“I’m sure that’s what a lot of people thought,” he said. “It never really entered my mind.”

So when Chiarelli has spoken several times about the need to make one or more trades, it had nothing to do with either Krug or Smith. It was simply about the need to clear a logjam of defensemen (10) and also to provide a bit more cap space than the $425,000 or so the B’s have.

“There’s still housekeeping to do from a numbers perspective,” said Chiarelli.

So for incumbent Bruins, including defenseman Johnny Boychuk, the return of the free agents doesn’t alleviate the threat of a possible trade.

“Who knows what’s going to happen?” said Boychuk. “It’s just nice to see them back in the rink and practicing with us. We still have to go through training camp. It’s not like people are out of the dark here; having them two back is going to make for even better competition.

“There’s still 10 (defensemen) here, so there’s still a possibility (of trades). You just have to come to the rink, try to work as hard as you can and show them that you fit here.”