PHILADELPHIA – Peter Chiarelli met with Jarome Iginla here on Thursday, prior to the NHL Draft tonight at the Wells Fargo Center, and said he stills harbors of hope signing the right wing.
Chiarelli said he views Iginla as a great fit on the Bruins top line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, calling him a “Bruins style of player” after Iginla's 30-goal first season in Boston.
He’s also a right-handed shot on the right wing with a pair of left shots at the other right wings in Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith. Still, Chiarelli said he wasn’t sure if Iginla would give the B’s a chance to match should he find a better offer on the market, which he most certainly will.
“I met with him last night. The shopping period is the shopping period. He’s a good player that we want to sign. We’ll see how it goes,” said Chiarelli. “Jarome wants to stay and we’re trying to find a spot for him. But we’re both big boys. If we can’t [work it out] then we can’t [work it out], but we’re certainly both trying to work at it.”
The bottom line is this with Iginla: if he’s looking for two years and $10 million or three years and $15 million guaranteed in the last big multi-year contract of his career, then the Bruins can’t fit that into their rough salary-cap situation. Chiarelli tacitly confirmed the Bruins would have to trade pieces in order to accede to the kind of contract Iginla will command on the open market and it’s bad business to start busting up a team for a soon-to-be 37-year-old forward.
The only scenario for Iginla to return would be to sign another one-year, bonus-laden deal as he did last season and where the former Flames captain wouldn’t be protected if he sustained a serious injury early in the season. Iginla was paid $1.8 million in base salary and a $3.7 million bonus when he played his 10th game of the season. That’s the exact kind of deal Boston was looking for this time around.
Instead, Iginla will meet with other teams, such as the Detroit Red Wings, and the Bruins will move on to other solutions for a top-line right wing if he signs elsewhere.
“This is not about what [Iginla] wants, or morally what he should do. It’s nothing about that,” said Chiarelli. “It’s about ‘can we fit him in?’ That’s what it’s about. There are players that you wouldn’t like trading [to potentially create cap room], so there is some pain involved in that.”
Bruins such as Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid, Chris Kelly and Brad Marchand aren’t being actively shopped, but could be in play if Chiarelli suddenly decides to show desperation in the Iginla negotiations. Still, don’t count it. Perhaps Eriksson bumps up to Iginla’s spot on the top line or the Bruins lure another aging right wing - Daniel Alfredsson? - with a bonus-laden one-year deal.