The Boston Bruins are in cap hell. We all know it. Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins front office have been doing everything possible to retain the best talent possible for the organization, but it certainly hasn’t been easy. The Bruins were saddled with the penalties from bonuses going to players like Jarome Iginla and Dougie Hamilton and it’s making it really tough for the Bruins to retain the talent they have on the roster.
There is one ugly truth that we’ve got to wrap our heads around Bruins fans. If you think this year was rough on us for cap space, it’s going to get even worse next year. Johnny Boychuk and David Krejci‘s contracts are up at the end of the upcoming season. Short of a miserable showing, both players are primed to earn substantial raises. If the Bruins win the Stanley Cup next year those raises will increase by an obscene order of magnitude.
The money will be horrifically tight for the Black and Gold. According to capgeek.com, the Bruins already have $46.6 million committed to players for the 2015-16 season. With so many of the top forwards in the league (and Krejci is comfortably in the top twenty) making eight to ten million dollars a year, we have to assume Krejci’s next paycheck will be in that range. Johnny Boychuk is being underpaid at 3.36 million. Boychuk could see a five million dollar per year contract with a strong season. While you’re digesting those numbers and trying to make it all work against a theoretical $73 million dollar cap ceiling, there are more problems ahead.
David Krejci and Johnny Boychuk are the big players the Bruins need to lock down next year. There are other Bruins who will be looking for raises, and they likely won’t be cheap either. Fourth liners Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell‘s contract are up as well. While we won’t be seeing three million dollar a year contracts, we can expect modest raises for both of them. (For the sake of argument, let’s say one and a half for each of them.) Then we have to add Carl Soderberg and Adam McQuaid (and Matt Bartkowski if he’s still in a Bruins uniform) to the mix for a new contract as well.
On top of all that, the Bruins have more problems to tackle. Reilly Smith and Torey Krug will get their big raises for their patience for the pittance the Bruins will be forced to give them this season. Then there are the restricted free agents to take care of after that. Dougie Hamilton tops that list, and he’s due for a big raise as well. That’s a lot of cash and a very ugly ceiling. Marc Savard‘s LTIR status will only help us out so much in all of this.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has an ugly juggling performance in front of him, and he knows it. He commented on how interesting (in the Chinese sense) it is for the Bruins this year cap-wise. “There is wanting to remain with a winning organization, and then there’s wanting to get them to the market. To me, there is a difference and they don’t always merge,” said Chiarelli last week. “They don’t always merge, people tend to think they have to merge but they don’t always merge. So we have guys coming up that we have to sign and we’re planning for it.
“[Contract values] will go up, it’ll go up because [the current CBA] is an upwards magnet. That’s not unexpected. When the cap is expected to rise, teams will continue to spend more money. It’s hard to delve into the completely free market because you saw some of [first day of free agency] deals. All it takes is one team to pay that money or term and you’re right there with them then. That’s why we’re trying to keep the guys we can keep, and we’re going to have to pay the money. It’s not going to be cheap.”
We’ll find out how expensive it will be in the near future.