There is a real possibility that the NHL salary cap will remain static next season at $81.5 million. It was once believed to be soaring as high as $84 million before the NHL pause due to the coronavirus outbreak. But with the pause itself and the idea that perhaps televised sports will be played without live audiences means that there would be a loss in revenue to the owners and therefore a loss of revenue share with the players.
If the salary cap stays the same, the Bruins will have roughly $19-20 million in cap space next season after the retained salary for Matt Beleskey’s contract and the Dennis Seidenberg’s buyout comes off the books. Of course, that $20 million has to be spread out among RFAs and UFAs, of which the Bruins have plenty.
Restricted Free Agents
Anders Bjork (Arbitration Eligible)
Matt Grzelcyk (Arbitration Eligible)
Unrestricted Free Agents
Quite frankly, Don Sweeney’s top priority should be re-signing Krug. Talks are either happening or not, depending on which source you believe, and it honestly sounds like it could be a term issue. Is it worth it to sign him, a 29-year old, for 7 years? You might not like what he looks like at the end of that deal but if we’re worrying about the ever elusive playoff window for Bergeron-Krejci-Rask-Chara-Marchand, get the deal done now. If you can get Krug to agree to a deal that caps at $7 million per year, just do it, Donny.
Zdeno Chara wants to continue playing but doesn’t want to play anywhere else. He’ll get an offer that is worth it for him to remain.
The question about backup goaltending is a serious one. Are any of the young netminders in Providence ready to back up Tuukka? Possibly. How about backing Tuukka up in a way like Halak does, playing upwards of 35 games a season? Probably not. If Jaro wanted to come back for the same deal, 2 years at $2.75 million, that would be a good thing.
Nordstrom is the odd man out as there are plenty of 4th liners out there. And Kevan Miller is very broken. Sweeney said they’ll offer a contract but we’ll see.
As for the RFAs, Donny can wait them out a little bit as long as he doesn’t have to go to arbitration with Bjork and Grzelcyk. He may employ a similar strategy with DeBrusk that he did with McAvoy and Carlo this past summer and Pasta a couple back; sign him just at the start or a couple days into training camp.
You see that $20 million isn’t going to spread out that far. That’s where a compliance buyout comes in handy. Many teams are similarly screwed by a static salary cap. Some teams (Tampa, Toronto) absolutely have to shed some salary to sign others. The Bruins don’t necessarily have to shed it but absolutely could gain $2.75 million: John Moore. Moore is signed through 2022-2023 and has all but lost a roster spot to either Connor Clifton or Jeremy Lauzon. He’s a seventh D at best now. It’s good to have depth but we could have cheaper, younger depth as well.
Should Anaheim choose to buyout David Backes’ contract, the Bruins would also have his $1.5 million cleared from their cap space. Yes, the Bruins could gain up to $4.25 million in cap space with compliance buyouts and that will help them sign Krug and everyone else.
Happy birthday to Winnie Carlo! The best Bruins pup turns 3 today!