Room on the Guest List: How B’s Can Fill Thomas’ Salary


February 12, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) is congratulated by the bench after scoring a game tying goal during the third period against the New York Rangers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Just before all of New England went blizzard crazy and pulled their backs digging cars out of 12 foot snow drifts, the B’s pulled off a surprising deal that saw former star goaltender Tim Thomas dealt to Long Island to become part of the Islanders roster.  Of course, reports immediately confirmed that Thomas would continue to sit out the season and not play for the team.  That didn’t seem to come as a surprise to either franchise involved in the move though.  The B’s requested a conditional 2nd round draft pick in case New York is able to benefit from the deal, either by Thomas playing or them trading his rights.  Otherwise, Boston simply shifted it’s cap burden to the Isles, who have the space and aren’t about to contend this year.  The Bruins now have plenty of room to add any kind of depth their little hearts desire.  The question now comes down to dancing partners.  Count the Islanders out, as anything the B’s wanted could have come as part of the Thomas deal.  Since Florida’s main concern is meeting the cap floor, that really just leaves the disappointing Capitals in the East, while Calgary, and L.A. are in a position to unload in the West.  The Bruins will most likely look to combine the services of Danielle Paille and Chis Bourque to make space for a winger who can provide a scoring boost on the 3rd line.  Defensive depth is also always a commodity.  All told, Peter Chiarelli will likely wait until the April 3rd trade deadline draws nearer to get the best deal possible.  Taking the B’s cap space into consideration, here are 5 targets with expiring contracts that would be on the B’s list if they had to make a deal today.

Jarome Iginla – CAL RW – 7mil – 35y/o – 1G, 5A – Iginla has been a member of the Flames since he entered the league.  That said, he’s got to be hungry for a chance at the Stanley Cup before hanging em up for good.  Rumors have been circulating for a few seasons now that Boston would target him.  Reduced ice time, a more balanced roster, and the chance to play for a playoff contender could rejuvenate the 35 year old.  Remember, he scored 32 goals as recently as last season.  He could also help solve some of the Bruins power play woes.

Mike Ribiero – WAS C – 5mil – 33y/o – 4G, 10A – The lowly Caps top point getter is a free agent to be.  With Washington in the midst of a down season, it might only take a draft/depth combo to convince the Caps they can right the ship for next season.  Adding the consistent helper could foreshadow a summer move involving one of Boston’s current centers, should they be able to tie Ribiero up for less money next season.

Roman Hamrlik – WAS D – 3.5 mil – 38y/o – 0G, 1A, -1 – Not exactly rocking the best stat line this season, but this old boy’s been around the league a long time.  He could provide precious, experienced depth, which is especially valuable come playoff time.  He also makes for a great mentor for Dougie Hamilton & Co.

Dustin Penner – LAK LW –  3.3. mil – 30y/o – oP, 3GP – The streaky Penner is in Coach Darryl Sutter’s doghouse.  The lowly Kings aren’t really aren’t even using him this year.  Chances are, they’d very much like to dump his salary and move towards a better solution in jumpstarting their season.  A change in scenery could give Penner the push he needs to snipe a few goals.  He’s certainly got 25 goal capability.  At this point he could be a good low risk- high reward gamble on the 3rd line.

Rob Scuderi – LAK D – 3.4 mil – 34y/o – 1G, 1A, -7 – The stay at home D-man is having a rough start to the season.  Don’t let that cloud your memory of how important he was to the Pens D-corps a few years ago in their  back to back Stanley Cup appearances.  Heading to a loaded team and taking on a smaller role might give Scuderi the breathing room he needs to make a mark, especially in the post-season, where the inexperienced Hamilton could be a chink in the armor.

The Bruins have 8.5 million dollars to work with.  They could make a push for one big name, or they could layer up with a number of depth players.  The key here for the black and gold is that they are a contender “as is”.  Any moves must focus on fixing the powerplay and adding depth.   They can only get better, setting them up for a long run in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.