The financial picture is clearing up for the Bruins with two big pieces now in place with price tags of 3 million (Chris Kelly) and (Gregory Campbell) 1.6 million for the next three years.
Its difficult to envision Kelly getting much more than 3 million per season and a term of four years from a group of NHL teams that view him as a third line center on a good playoff team, so the 31-year-old received a good, fair deal from the Bruins. Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli both have an extremely high level of trust in the two-way center, but its also fair to assume he could hit 20 goals and finish high in the plusminus rankings playing with a talented group around him in Boston.
Even if 2011-12 ends up serving as a career year for Kelly, hes invaluable to Boston for his leadership, professionalism and the Bergeron-like skill set that he brings to the table nightly.
Campbell might have earned something a little richer than one might have expected as a fourth line center. But he centered the best fourth line in hockey when the Bruins won the Cup, and Chiarelli is spending 4 million combined for Campbell, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton over the next two years.
The salary cap for the 2012-13 season isnt yet known and wont be finalized until the CBA is ratified by the NHL and the NHLPA. But it would have been 70.3 million if the new CBA is modeled after the current agreement that expires in September, and the Bruins are currently at 64.9 million, according to capgeek.com.
The 64.9 million includes the 5 million cap hit for Tim Thomas and the 4.007 million cap hit for Marc Savard, and both could be off the Bs books by the time next season rolls around.
That leaves roughly 5 million in cap space -- or 14 million if they can clear Thomas off the ledger and place Savard on long term injured reserve with his debilitating post-concussion syndrome -- with the Bruins still looking to address restricted free agents Tuukka Rask and Benoit Pouliot as well secure at least one more top-nine forward to the mix. The Bruins also need one more defenseman to fill into the vacant spot left by Joe Corvo, and a 1.494 cap hit for Dougie Hamilton should the 18-year-old prove hes ready to play in Boston next season.
So the Bruins dont appear to be in dire straits from a salary cap perspective in terms of fielding the team that Chiarelli and Julien feel comfortable with. But it also doesnt appear that theres room for an 8 million per year player like Zach Parise or Rick Nash unless some wheeling and dealing goes down this summer.
That goes doubly so for a team that will have Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton and Andrew Ference all up for new contracts after the 2012-13 hockey season is over.