Report: Iginla, Bruins start contract extension talks

Report: Iginla, Bruins start contract extension talks
June 9, 2014, 1:30 pm
(USA Today Sports Images)

The Bruins and the camp for veteran right winger Jarome Iginla are talking contract extension, according to reports out of Montreal. Iginla turns 37 years old this summer and scored 30 goals for the Bruins in his first season in Boston, and led the B’s with five goals scored during their short playoff run.

While Iginla was a good fit on the line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic during the regular season, the forward group underwhelmed during the postseason when long, cycling shifts didn’t consistently translate into goal production.

It doesn't appear anything is imminent between the two sides, but the news is a positive sign he'll be returning to Boston.

Both Iginla and the Bruins voiced a desire to continue the relationship next year and beyond despite a playoff run that fell short of expectations.

“I thought he started out a little slow when he came on, but he came on late and he came on strong. Obviously he’s a leader, he’s the captain of another team for a long time and he came in and added in an element to our group, especially the forward group,” said Bruins President Cam Neely during the end-of-season press conference last month. “He ended up scoring 30 goals, which is not easy in this league anymore.

“We would like to try and see if we can figure something out moving forward with him. We will see where that goes but I thought he fit in really well with our team.”

Given a very tight cap situation for the Black and Gold that sees them with roughly $7-9 million in cap space – depending on the final salary cap number for 2014-15 – to re-sign restricted free agents Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Reilly Smith, find a backup goaltender and make decisions on unrestricted free agents in Shawn Thornton and Iginla, it’s believed the Bruins are pushing hard to sign Iginla to a one-year contract very similar to the 2013-14 deal that paid him $1.8 million base salary.

If Iginla and his camp agree to another deal that would ease the salary cap burden on the Bruins, then it would seem a no-brainer he’ll return to the Black and Gold for a second go-round.

Iginla had incentives that could have bumped his salary up to $6 million, but he fell short on $500,000 of the bonus money when the Bruins were eliminated in the second round by the Habs. The right winger had two separate $250,000 bonuses that would have kicked in had he scored 30 goals, and the Bruins advanced to the conference final and the Cup Final. He did achieve the $3.7 million bonus when he played his tenth game of the season for the Black and Gold, and finished with a salary of $5.5 million for last season.

If Iginla and agent Don Meehan are looking for a bigger base salary with less incentives or a longer term multi-year deal, then it’s difficult to see where the team and player would find workable common ground. It’s certainly possible, but would put the Bruins in greater salary cap turmoil than their currently challenging situation.

Per the CBA, NHL teams like the Bruins can only sign over-35 year old players like Iginla to one-year deals if they are bonus-laden like last season’s contract. The start of negotiations between Iginla and the Bruins was first reported over the weekend by TVA Sports reporter Renaud Lavoie, who said it was confirmed to him by Iginla's representation.