Chiarelli, B's hope to re-sign 'good fit' in Iginla

Chiarelli, B's hope to re-sign 'good fit' in Iginla
June 23, 2014, 4:00 pm
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The Bruins are still negotiating with unrestricted free agent Jarome Iginla as the July 1 free agency period beckons, and Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli remains optimistic they can retain the 37-year-old right winger. The Bruins have a tight salary cap situation, however, and there isn’t a lot of financial wiggle room despite Iginla’s 30 goal season for the Black and Gold.  

Chiarelli was asked about Iginla during an NHL Draft conference call, and wouldn’t get into details beyond a desire to keep him on the top line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

“I’m not going to comment specifically on negotiations. We’d like to sign Jarome [Iginla] and that’s what I can say,” said Chiarelli. “He has been a valuable player for us, I think there is a good fit and we’d like to sign him.

“I’m not going to, with all due respect, I’m not going to comment on negotiations. So, that’s what I can say.”

It would appear much of what the Bruins do with their offseason plan is predicated on what happens with Iginla, however. If he can return to the Bruins for the same one year, bonus-laden deal he signed last season, then the Bruins will have some “hard choices” to make with players on their own roster. A $4.7 million bonus overage penalty on the 2014-15 salary cap is making things exceedingly difficult for Chiarelli, and leaves him with less than $9 million to sign Iginla, re-sign restricted free agents in Torey Krug, Reilly Smith and Matt Bartkowski, and find players to fill the fourth line right wing and backup goaltender spots.

Coming off a 30-goal season with his Hall of Fame caliber resume, Iginla could easily command a multi-year deal north of $5 million per season if that’s what he was looking for as a contract. He led the Bruins with 30 goals during the regular season, and again paced them with five goals in what was an admittedly uneven performance during an all-too-short postseason run.

The cap-strapped Bruins can’t afford to sign Iginla to such a deal, however, and the Bruins GM admitted as much while discussing the difficult options that stand in front of him while building next season’s roster.

“There will be hard choices but it may be that we don’t make hard choices and we keep as many people as we can and we go into the year,” said Chiarelli. “Maybe we do make those hard choices as the year progresses. It may be that all these things happen at training camp, or it may be that all these things happen in November. I think a lot of people think that these hard choices get made July 1. Choices do get made July 1: it may be that we can’t sign Jarome [Iginla], it may be that we go in a different direction, or it may be that we can’t sign player X or player Y.

“We’re in the midst of making these decisions, and we want to see how the market plays out. These decisions may stretch into the summer, they may stretch into training camp, or they may stretch into November. The common denominator is that they are hard choices.”

One thing is certain: a source told that the Bruins are putting all of their focus into getting something done with Iginla while putting any other UFA’s and restricted free agents on the backburner until things are resolved.

The “hard choices” could be not re-signing Iginla, or it could be potentially dealing roster mainstays like Chris Kelly, Adam McQuaid, Brad Marchand or Johnny Boychuk in order to better manage a brutal cap situation. It remains to be seen what the Bruins do, but it may well not be a foregone conclusion that the B’s and Iginla wrap things up on a new deal exactly on July 1.