Boston Bruins: B’s find relief in new $73 Million salary cap.


Nov 22, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (left) talks with MLSE chairman of the board Larry Tanenbaum (right) during the second period of a game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced yesterday that the NHL’s salary cap for the 2015-16 season will be increasing.  He gave this report at the Board of Governors meeting, and I’m sure it raised the hopes of several teams who were facing serious cap trouble next season. Bettman speculated that as long as the Canadian dollar doesn’t take more abuse in the world markets, then the projected seventy three million dollar cap will be set in stone.

Now, how will this affect the Boston Bruins? First, the organization can take a very deep breath and let out a sigh of relief. The current crisis with the Canadian dollar had the projected salary cap to stay at the current sixty nine million dollars. Four million dollars won’t solve all of the Bruins current salary cap problems, but it will help alleviate some of them.

The Bruins have committed $49,897,857 against the cap towards their 2015-16 roster. The Bruins have locked in their core players for next year. Milan Lucic and David Krejci will be on the top line next year. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand will still be in the Black and Gold.  Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson (if not traded sometime during this season)will be suiting up as well. On the defensive side of things, the B’s will still have Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg.

Tuukka Rask is also locked up for the considerable future. This leaves ten players unaccounted for on the roster. (While the actual number is eleven, I have serious doubts over Simon Gagne being part of the roster next October.) So, whose future is in doubt come next season?

The remaining Merlot Men will be up for contracts next season. With so many decent AHL players ready to move up next season, this may be the last year we see both Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell in a B’s uniform. Matt Fraser is up for a contract, and he may end up with another AHL/NHL deal. If we want to see another season of Soderberg playing like Carl, he’ll need a contract as well. Finally, Reilly Smith will be the last of the NHL forwards looking for that promised pay day after taking such a cap-friendly deal to play this year in Boston.

The situation with the defensemen is certainly more fluid. Of the four players on the current roster looking for a contract, only Dougie Hamilton appears to be a ‘must sign’. Dougie will likely be in Zdeno Chara’s place in ten years (barring injury or a sudden attack of Seguinitis). He’ll be a future face of the franchise. Torey Krug is the next important player to sign. He also signed a very cap-friendly deal, and he’s been worth a little more to the franchise this year. While I love to watch Adam McQuaid on the ice, there are so many decent AHL players for the B’s to choose from. McQuaid may take a home town discount, or he may move on.

That leaves Matt Bartkowski. I honestly have no idea if the Bruins are going to put up with another season of ‘Hot Bart, Cold Bart’.

Niklas Svedberg is also up for a contract, and he may be the biggest question mark of them all. Anton Khudobin and Chad Johnson both had successful stints as the Bruins number two. They both were able to parley that stint into better contracts with their current organizations. If Svedberg does well enough, he’ll likely follow in the footsteps in his predecessors and see what is available in free agency. (We could always get Tim Thomas at a discount price to begin his farewell tour. (I’m 99% kidding here.)) Malcolm Subban could be ready to move into the number two job next season, and that would solve at least one more problem at the TD Garden.