May 14, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Jarome Iginla (12) and defenseman Torey Krug (47) celebrate after a goal scored on Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) during the second period in game seven of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Bruins: Staying in Neutral in the Off-Season

May 14, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Jarome Iginla (12) and defenseman Torey Krug (47) celebrate after a goal scored on Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) during the second period in game seven of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins have had (at best) a very neutral trade period this off-season. The organization doubled down on Jarome Iginla last season, creating a bonus-heavy contract in order to attract the future Hall of Famer. Iginla’s departure has left the Bruins still paying for those bonuses and no immediate replacement.

The Black and Gold have been burning through their remaining cap space in order to sign a lot of talent that may not have the ability to replace a player like Iginla. Reilly Smith is the closest to Iginla in production for the Bruins and his contract has yet to be signed. (Torey Krug’s contract status is still up in the air as well.) So, how will the Bruins find any money for these players come the start of the season?

The Bruins are stretching their dollars much tighter than usual. The surprise retention of Matt Bartkowski and Jordan Caron has taken $1.85 million dollars out of the Bruins already tight salary cap. The only reason the Bruins still have any room to maneuver at all is due to Marc Savard‘s status of long-term injured reserve. (Savard’s contract is for $4,027,143 per year till the 2016-17 season.) Currently, the Bruins have $3.218 million dollars in cap space left. Hopefully, that will be enough to sign on Smith, Krug, and any more surprise add-ons that Peter Chiarelli and company wish to add to the roster.

So, what’s going to happen in Boston? At this point, it’s pretty safe to say that nothing is going to happen with the Black and Gold till just before the start of training camp. The Bruins will have their scouts out checking out certain players that are organization’s wish list. The Bruins will have to figure out who they want bad enough that they’re willing to give up what little cash (or players) they have left.

It also comes down to the general manager’s intentions.  If Chiarelli chooses to promote from within for Iginla’s slot (best guess would still be Loui Eriksson), great. If he chooses to look outside the organization, then we can expect to see players like Bartkowski, Caron, and perhaps a future draft pick heading somewhere else so the Bruins can get a new top six forward.

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Tags: Boston Bruins National Hockey League

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