We all love the Black and Gold. We go to the games, we love the TD Garden, and we love watching the team win. Some of us still hold June 15, 2011 as a watershed moment for ourselves and Bruins history. All that being said, it looks like the Boston Bruins bungled the whole Jarome Iginla bonus clause and the organization is paying for it now come free agency time.
Let’s start off with the good points so far. Keeping Jarome Iginla would have been a logistical and financial nightmare for the Bruins. Peter Chiarelli made the right choice to understand the mess he was in. He cut his losses and spared the Bruins from having to be trade gutted or turned into half an AHL squad next season. He still has sufficient money to sign Torey Krug and Reilly Smith. We’ll still have our best offensive and defensive breakthroughs of last season with us again.
Now let’s take a look at the other side of the coin. The Bruins have NHL quality defensemen coming out their ears. Zdeno Chara will be back next season. Both Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid will be healthy next season (barring McQuaid isn’t made part of a deal somewhere down the line.) Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton are looking great too (barring Boychuk isn’t made part of a trade). For sake of argument, let’s put Kevan Miller and Torey Krug as the bottom two defensemen. This leaves a lot of Providence talent still waiting in the wings (or to be used as potential trade bait) and Matt Bartkowski standing out in the cold (or traded).
We should have had a clear message that this is what the Bruins are going to go with. Then Peter Chiarelli hires another defenseman (Christopher Breen) on a one year, two way contract. In essence, he hires another Corey Potter before we even need him. (I don’t have his job, so clearly I am missing something here.) In hiring a cheap temp, it tells me that the Bruins are going to move someone before training camp (sadly, I still think it’s either Boychuk or McQuaid here.) We knew this wasn’t going to be a blowout free ageny in Boston. (That award goes to the Dallas Stars in having one of the best free agencies in recent memory.) To be honest, a lot of us were hoping to just break even. Maybe I’m wrong here, but it feels like we fell behind this time around.
Then there is the completely invented goaltender drama. Luckily, it doesn’t involve Tuukka Rask. We give up on signing Chad Johnson (who earned himself a nice two year package with the New York Islanders). We give Niklas Svedberg a one way contract. Chiarelli all but announces that Svedberg will be the new number two in Boston. Then he hires another goalie as part of a two-way contract and announces that the back up job is still up for grabs. OK, that probably threw a lot of you for a loop. Jeremy Smith isn’t terrible, but his numbers hardly give us heady confidence. He played for the Springfield Falcons (the Columbus AHL affiliate) last season. He put up a 21-14-3 record while posting a 2.78 goal against average and .898 save percentage. (How often have you seen a sub .900 wearing the spoked ‘B’ in net the last few seasons?)
Most of us have questions, and some of us are already disappointed. That’s pretty rough for being only two days in to free agency.