According to the Boston Globe, the Boston Bruins will face pretty big cap penalties next year, possibly up to about $4.5 million.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who follows the cap in the NHL religiously, although the exact amount might be a little surprising. The B’s have about $5.6 million available in bonuses, $4.2 of which comes from Iginla. He has earned $3.7 of that already, and he’ll earn another $500k if the B’s reach the Finals again (because he tallied 30 goals this year). Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton make up the other $1.4ish, but it’s just about impossible to know where the bonuses were placed. Capgeek’s page on how the bonuses work should show you what I mean — it’s impossible to know just where the Bruins placed the performance bonuses for Krug and Hamilton. But the fact that the Boston Globe got the $4.5 number means that they probably have a source inside the B’s organization who would be able to tell them that Krug and Hamilton have each hit a significant amount of their bonuses already. The B’s seem to have around $2.5 or $2.7M in space — although that could be a little less — and the fact that they could go over by $4.5M means that the young guys have already hit a lot of their bonuses.
Chiarelli clearly saw this coming, though. I think that’s why he resigned Kevan Miller to a deal that will pay him just $800k per year, which could allow the team to move on from someone like Bartkowski, who is a RFA after the year. The B’s will likely have to go with short, small deals with Krug and Reilly Smith, also RFAs. They have about $9M in cap space, minus the penalty but plus Savard’s LTIR money. That leaves about $8.5 million in space with Iginla, Krug, Bartkowski, Reilly, Chad Johnson, Shawn Thornton, and Jordan Caron (who cares) as free agents.
They could probably get by paying the non-Iginla members of the group about $6 million total, although $7M might be more realistic. (I don’t mean to assume that everyone in that group will be coming back, because I doubt it). That means that, in order to resign Iggy, which should be a big priority after how he’s done with Krejci and Lucic, Chiarelli needs to make more space.
That’s where the amnesties come in. Both Chris Kelly and Adam McQuaid should be amnestied this summer, and no, it’s not easy to write that. Kelly is not a terrible contract at $3 million, but there’s no room for him anymore as the 3rd line center with both Carl Soderberg and Ryan Spooner in the mix. He’s great for the PK and a valuable member of a really good 3rd line, but he will just be taking up space for one better player and one player who’s more cost-efficient.
McQuaid is not at all a terrible deal at $1.56 million, but there’s also no room for him with Chara, Seidenberg coming back, Boychuk, Krug, Hamilton, possibly Bartkowski, Miller, and maybe Warsofsky. His $1.56 is absolutely fine in a vacuum, as is Kelly’s $3M. But the Bruins are not operating in a vacuum.