Peter Chiarelli addressed Bruins nation on Monday regarding the upcoming free agent season and fans may not be entirely pleased with what he had to say. Obviously by now, most people are aware that the Bruins are pretty tied up with what they can do with their limited amount of money, but that is expected when you have a roster full of franchise players signed to long term deals. At the same time, you expect things to be done after a disappointing exit at the hands of the archrival Habs in the second round.
Chiarelli stated that the B’s are not planning on buying out any of their players “at this time”. Last week, he said that the team wasn’t going to trade Brad Marchand. So what is the team planning on doing that will better their chances at another cup final?
The seemingly vague Chiarelli has made it clear that the organization is hoping to re-sign Jarome Iginla, but with their tight cap situation, even that may not be possible. Many are high on bringing back the soon to be 37-year-old Iginla, but I lean the other way on the situation. He did pot 30 goals, but how many of them were empty netters, lucky bounces, and scrappy put-backs? I know for sure that his oft-attempted one-timers from the face off dot were hitting the high glass far more frequently than the net. And it is not as if he is getting any better at his age. Of the teams that made it deep into the playoffs, Marty St. Louis and Marian Hossa were the only real effective forwards over the age of 35.
If the team doesn’t re-sign Iginla, they don’t have the money to attract a similar caliber free agent. That is where a trade or buy-out would make sense. Chris Kelly comes to mind as the perfect candidate for such a transaction. Kelly had one offensive breakout season back in 2011-2012, but hasn’t showed the scoring touch since then. His $3 million dollar cap hit could be quite useful to bring in a free agent. In my eyes, Gregory Campbell provides essentially the same skill-set for half the money. Why have Kelly hindering the offensive abilities of Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson when a player like Ryan Spooner or Alexander Khokhlachev could be ready to add a spark to the lineup.
Chiarelli did mention the potential of moving in the draft, which takes place this Friday and Saturday. “We’re lower down in the first round, and we’re probably going to look at moving up a little or moving down a little, depending on who’s available. I think we have a pretty tight list.” So despite what he has said about trading away roster players, Friday night may be the next trade Chiarelli pulls off.
In a short list of decisions made so far, the Bruins have told Shawn Thornton they will not re-sign him, while signing goaltender Niklas Svedberg to a one year $600,000 deal. Thornton will clearly be missed in Boston, as he has been an important figure in the clubhouse and community. Svedberg’s signing means that Chad Johnson‘s back-up spot has been filled after his one year stint with the B’s. Johnson also made $600,000 last season.
Last offseason, not many people would have expected Tyler Seguin to be shipped off on the 4th of July. This offseason can really only go two ways.
1. The team stays relatively the same and a few Providence Bruins fill the roster spots of Thornton and possibly Iginla.
2. An established roster player is either traded or bought out to make way for another impact player.
Personally, I think the team should shake things up again to try and match the teams that have been successful the past few seasons. The Kings and Blackhawks are able to combine highly skilled players with toughness and grit. The Bruins have been more focused on two-way prowess, which has of course brought them success, but maybe not enough. The next few weeks has the potential to be very exciting. Some fans will be furious with whatever the B’s decide to do, while others will be ecstatic, but that comes with the territory of watching a team that has the ability to win a number of Stanley Cups in the upcoming years.