Doubles, roll again. Get out of jail free. Pass go. Collect 200 dollars. The Bruins made their biggest off-season waves over the past week by first re-signing agitator Brad Marchand to a four year, $18 million extension, then following up with a six year, $34.5 million dollar deal for sparkplug Tyler Seguin. Parker Brothers would be proud as it’s the hockey equivalent of the B’s locking down two out of those three green blocks (Northeast corner) on the Monopoly board.
The reaction to Peter Chiarelli’s Friday acquisition of Pacific Avenue (Marchand) was relatively mixed. It was a nice piece of property, it has potential to bring in a decent haul, but, did he overpay? And what’s he going to do with it? The answer came Tuesday. Buy up Pennsylvania Ave (Seguin) at market value. In under a week, the B’s locked down two vital, young pieces to their championship squad for at least another five years. Add in this summer’s earlier extensions and the core of the team is locked up for about three years, really giving Boston the run of the board.
The real risk here is if/when the Bruins run into trouble with the Luxury Tax (new CBA). If the big cuts that owners are hoping for become a reality, Boston may suddenly find itself well past the cap ceiling. Time to mortgage some properties. The most likely candidates? Atlantic Ave and Marven Gardens (Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic). Looch is a fan favorite. His youth and raw talents are both full of upside. The problem is that he’s an unrestricted free agent after this season. If Chiarelli doesn’t feel he can re-sign him for the right money, then it’s absolutely the right move to deal him and drop four million dollars closer to the cap ceiling. Horty’s another beast altogether. Moving him would include convincing the streaky winger to drop his no-trade clause. Boston could also expect to get next to nothing in return, thanks to his recent injury history. Still, it’d save them four million dollars for a guy ready to become a UFA at the end of the season. A guy they’ve proven they can manage without. The only other big money contract without a no trade clause or recent extension is the Electric Company (Andrew Ference), who’s leadership comes at a reasonable $2.5 million dollar hit.
All in all, the B’s are in good shape. Chiarelli is gambling on what he knows. Right now, he’s got the bankroll to lock down as many properties as he can. If the chance card sends him to jail without a free pass, he’ll be ready to wheel and deal to keep the colors he needs. The ones he can build hotels on.
In recent years, the Bruins have made a habit of playing the cap game shrewdly. They’ve invested their money on young talent, through extensions and mid-money signings. So far, it’s allowed them to accumulate the right balance of quality and quantity. They may not own any Boardwalks… but they’re not really tied to any Mediterranean Ave’s either. Thus far, they’ve managed the northern half of the board well. Now, it comes down to a roll of the dice. Will the B’s pass Go and collect… or will they be “rail-roaded” into submission? No matter what, it can’t possibly be any worse than the last time Bruins management gambled on a new CBA.
Waiting on you Gary Bettman. Doubles. Roll again.