The salary cap numbers are finally beginning to filter in for the Boston Bruins for next season, and they are not very good at all. The excellent, accurate web site www.capgeek.com has the Bruins pegged for a $4.75 bonus overage penalty for the 2014-15 season, and that essentially means it’s dead money that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli can’t utilize for this upcoming season’s team.
A group of B’s players contributed to the overage penalty by reaching contractual bonuses last season, according to cap geek. Jarome Iginla accounted for $3.75 million when he hit a huge bonus for 10 games played last season, Torey Krug hit $850,000 in bonuses in a standout rookie season, Dougie Hamilton accounted for 212, 500 in bonuses in the second year of his entry level contract and even Ryan Spooner landed $21, 250 in bonus money.
The Bruins do have slightly more than $4 million in cap space coming to them when they place Marc Savard on long term injured reserve at the start of the season, but the $4.75 million penalty effectively cancels that out. The NHL salary cap will be finalized at the end of the June, but GMs are anticipating that the upper cap ceiling is going to be around $71 million.
That leaves slightly more than $8 million in cap space to re-sign Iginla, sign Krug, Reilly Smith and Matt Bartkowski to second contracts, furnish a replacement for Shawn Thornton and sign a backup goaltender behind $7 million man Tuukka Rask. Clearly Iginla could again help the Bruins by signing another bonus-laden deal with a small base contract that would essentially pass the penalty onto next season, but there is no guarantee that is going to happen.
Either way the Bruins don’t have nearly enough money to sign all of their own remaining free agents and keep their current roster intact based on the cold, hard numbers. This is the reason the names of Brad Marchand and Johnny Boychuk have surfaced as names that might have to be moved for cap relief. It’s important to note the Bruins aren’t shopping either one of these players, but they may be forced to execute a painful move or two to shimmy under the cap.
The cap hits of Chris Kelly ($3 million) and Adam McQuaid ($1.56 million) could nearly offset the bonus penalty facing the Bruins if Chiarelli could move them, but it’s no easy feat to find suitors for players coming off significant injuries.
Chiarelli and the Bruins have some hard choices directly ahead of them, and it will be interesting to see how they manage a stifling cap situation.