Torey Krug and Reilly Smith have resigned, and now we can stop worrying about them either not suiting up for the season or some team pulling a Calgary Flames – Ryan O’Reilly stunt, in which case the Bruins couldn’t have handled it as well as the Avalanche did because they’re cap strapped, if you didn’t already know
Both Smiddy and Krug Life signed today for $1.4 million over 1 year, which is… well… this.
Seriously, if you don’t realize how lucky the Bruins got with this one, you’re just not paying attention. By any calculation imaginable, both Smith and Krug are worth well over $2 million each, and that’s when I’m already including the fact that restricted free agents always get screwed over. On the open market, they’d be worth well over $3 million each, and you’d expect them to get roughly $2.5 each on these bridge deals, considering Derek Stepan got over $3 million per year in the same situation last year.
But nope, because Peter Chiarelli played it tough, and he won. He correctly bet that Smith and Krug would cave, and they did. I guess when you love hockey and the competition of the NHL enough, you’re willing to leave millions on the table and abandon the principle of getting paid what you deserve. Not that I have a problem with any player doing so, because it’s his life and not mine. But for these lowball contracts, you’d think they’d hold out for just a little more.
The B’s now are roughly $3.6 million over the cap before putting Marc Savard’s $4M contract on LTIR, but any blogs/columns/articles that you’ve seen suggesting that the Bruins now have cap space is simply wrong. They’re still gonna have to do something with their defensemen, because not everyone who will be on the roster is currently on it.
Take a look at the invaluable Capgeek’s Bruins page. While you’ll notice that the Bruins are, in fact, just $3.6M above the cap, you might also wanna notice that they only have 8 defensemen and 12 forwards listed, minus Savard. Chiarelli referred to the Bruins in July as having 9 defensemen, and David Warsofsky would be the 9th. I see no real reason to not have him on the roster, as he probably has higher upside than Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller, and he definitely has a higher upside than Adam McQuaid. But he’s also already 24, meaning that they might wanna make that upside happen sooner rather than later. Warsofsky isn’t listed on the Bruins roster on capgeek right now, so let’s add his $600k to the books. You can already tell that I’m getting at trading a defenseman, but we still have to go over the forwards, first.
Having 12 forwards is fine, but the B’s will want to head into the season with 13. And Matt Fraser isn’t listed on the roster yet, and he should be. He’s also a surprising 24, and he played better than Caron or Florek in the playoffs last year, so get him on the roster. That adds another $625k, so now the B’s are about $800-900k over the cap again. If they choose to substitute Ryan Spooner and his $760k for Justin Florek’s $600k (I’d like this move) or swap Spooner for Jordan Caron’s $600k (I’d fucking LOVE this move), then add another $160k to that total.
So let’s say that they have to clear another million bucks. If that number is actually under $800k, then Kevan Miller is a candidate to be shipped out of town. If not, the options are pretty clear: Matt Bartkowski or Adam McQuaid. Bartkowski makes $1.25 million, and his agent should be applauded for getting that contract in July, because he’d get nowhere near that if he tried to wait the Bruins out a la Krug and Smith. McQuaid makes $1.56 million.
To me, the obvious choice is Adam McQuaid, but it’d be a close call if health weren’t an issue. I just don’t see the point in relying on either your 6th or 7th — or maybe even 8th — defensemen to get healthy. A guy that low on the depth chart should be the kind of guy that you can plug in at any point and not have to worry about him breaking a few bones by sneezing. OK, that’s harsh, and I don’t mean to come at an athlete for injuries. After all, even the most injury prone guys in the world (Danny Amendola) are far tougher than the average person. But health is a skill, and it’s one that Adam McQuaid doesn’t possess relative to his counterparts.
And there’s still a chance that Bartkowski improves a little more, while I don’t think that McQuaid is gonna get much better. Given that Chara, Seidenberg, Krug, Bartkowski, and Warsofsky are lefties compared to just Boychuk, Hamilton, McQuaid, and Miller are righties, Chiarelli might decide to even out the numbers by dumping Bart. But Seidenberg can play on the right side, of course, so all the more reason to keep Bart over One Tough Hombre.
But the most important part of today is that Johnny Boychuk will be on the 2014-2015 Boston Bruins. His $3.36 salary will not be the sacrificial lamb for the Bruins cap issues. Instead, Peter Chiarelli made up for his Seidenberg and Kelly extensions — for the time being — by using Reilly Smith and Torey Krug as the collateral damage. Luckily they played the part beautifully.