With the 2014 free agency period well underway, and several teams having already made moves to bolster their rosters, the Boston Bruins await the decision of winger Jarome Iginla. The team is burdened with salary cap restrictions, but GM Peter Chairelli must find a way to re-sign the future Hall-of-Famer.
The Bruins have under $2 million to spend before the reach the $69 million cap limit for 2014-2015 year. The NHL unexpectedly announced the smaller figure last week. Based on such restraints, Chiarelli and the Bruins must be creative in approaching the situation at hand.
It’s obvious how valuable Iginla is to Cladue Julien’s top line. In his first season in black-and-gold, Iginla meshed well with Milan Lucic and David Krejci. The trio was dominant all season and Iginla finished with 30 goals.
Boston has a few options to consider in order to help cut salary for an Iginla signing. They could swing a trade. The Bruins defensive depth makes guys like Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk expendable. Boychuk is set to make $3.3 million before becoming a free agent after next season. McQuaid will make $1.5 million. Dealing either of them will free up considerable space.
Marc Savard is also on the books for the upcoming season. Shifting him to long-term injured reserve would save them $4 million. A move of such nature would allow the Bruins to load up an enticing 1-year offer, similar to the one Iginla signed last offseason.
Whatever the case may be, the Bruins must act fast. Numerous rumors being fired around indicate several clubs across the league have shown great interest in snatching Iginla up. The Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars have all reportedly expressed interest in acquiring him.
Chiarelli was vocal about his contingency plan in the event Iginla walks. He says Loui Eriksson would assume Iginla’s role alongside Lucic and Krejci. While Erkisson may not perfectly fit the heavy style of the line, his immense offensive talent would surely pay dividends.
Iginla wants to remain on Causeway Street. At the end of the day, it’s a race between potential suitors and the Bruins ability to clear enough space in order to persuade Iginla to stay.