Ever since the beginning of the Bruins offseason, the biggest question on everyone’s mind was would the Bruins be able to re-sign Jarome Iginla in spite of the precarious financial state they are in regarding staying underneath the salary cap. For weeks, the Bruins engaged in talks with Iginla in an attempt to get a deal done, however it appeared as time passed that the possibility of bringing him back was becoming more fantasy than reality.
Before the weekend began, it was reported that Iginla’s agent Don Meehan had already begun the process of setting up meetings with other teams with the intention of finding a better deal than the ones probably being proposed by the cap strapped Bruins. With the news coming out this past weekend that the NHL’s new salary cap has been set at 69 million dollars for teams; the Bruins situation went from bad to worse according to Capgeek.com.
It was widely reported that Iginla was going to be meeting with Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli over the draft weekend and although specifics were not revealed by the general media; we do know that the two did meet and discuss further the potential of bringing Iginla back into the fold. However, some of the comments from Chiarelli following the meeting may leave Bruins fans less hopeful about Iginla returning as well as reveal the difficult reality the team is facing this offseason.
Chiarelli had this to say in an interview with ComcastSportsNewEngland regarding re-signing Iginla, “We’re still talking to Jarome’s agent. I spoke with him today,” said Chiarelli. “I won’t go into details, but we’re still talking and we’ll see how it goes. If we don’t get Jarome signed to fit into our salary structure, I’m not going to go out hard to find a replacement for two reasons: the annual cost and the term.”
This brings us to the next point regarding Chiarelli’s comments; it sounds like if Iginla enters free agency on July 1 and his time with the Bruins comes to an end, Chiarelli is not about to make a dip into a free agency to replace him which stays consistent with the attitude he has regarding free agency since the beginning of the offseason.
Chiarelli even hinted at the idea of how the Bruins would reset if Iginla is lost to another team and that could be through moving last year’s much maligned third line winger Loui Eriksson into Iginla’s position on the top line.
Fans cannot blame Iginla if he decides to go to another team. Granted he came to the Bruins with the intention of winning a Stanley Cup and having that be the ultimate purpose for him coming to Boston. A 30 goal season and proving that at 37 years old he still has a lot to offer suggests Iginla should try to seek the best offer out there for him. On the other side, as disappointing and unfortunate as it is to lose a player the caliber of Jarome Iginla, the Bruins moving on from him can allow for them to focus on keeping their younger talent as well as prepare for what will be an interesting offseason next season with the contracts of David Krejci and Carl Soderberg being up.