Boston Bruins Looking For Cap Flexibility.


The cap ceiling has been the greatest enemy of NHL teams since it reared its ugly head. While some teams have always found a way to maneuver with it, that hasn’t come very easy to the Boston Bruins. They were fined twice during the Peter Chiarelli era for going over the cap, and it is one of the headaches that new Bruins GM Don Sweeney has inherited.

So, how will the Bruins find a way to become consistently cap compliant while bringing in quality talent for their team? When Sweeney was officially promoted last week, he talked about how the Bruins needed to get in the driver seat and steer themselves back to being in control of their salary cap.

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  • “I referenced flexibility as an issue that we need to get back out in front of. There’s a difference between cap compliance and cap management, and I think we need to make sure that we’re very cognizant of the latter rather than the former. Everybody in the league has to deal with cap compliance, but the teams that are in position to have some flexibility to make some changes, being at the deadline — the opportunity to make trades exist when you have a trading partner. [We want] to explore every personnel option that’s available to us in that regard to find the right people. A lot of those changes, I can promise — I can sit and do an interview process and promise all these changes are going to occur — that’s not necessarily the reality. You have to go through the process and talk to other teams, and see whether or not there’s an alignment there.”

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    If you want to read between the lines here, it looks like Sweeney is willing to shake up the roster in order to get the team moving forward.  (Granted, anything that won’t look like it fits in Cam Neely‘s ‘Big, Bad Bruins’ paradigm might lead to some friction down the road.) He’s just got to find the money to make the cap ceiling less of a guillotine for the B’s.

    It will be an uphill battle for Sweeney as he tries to find the right balance. At the moment, the salary cap is landing around $71 million dollars(and that is on the high side of the projections).  The Bruins have currently tied up $60.5 million in contracts committed to fifteen players going into the 2015-16 season.   The NHL player union could repeat last year’s maneuver and take a million off the top of the ceiling. The struggling Canadian dollar could cause the cap to fall further still?

    So, what will the Bruins have to do? They’ll need to make the right moves and sign the right players. But they’ll also need to find other teams who are willing to move quality players that they can’t afford either.

    “Sometimes we’ve made trades that have been on other teams’ timeline instead of our own,” said Sweeney of the Bruins recent underwhelming trades. “And it’s put us in a difficult situation. I’d like to reverse that and be in a situation where you have plenty of teams calling you because you know your assets are there. You’re in a better position to make the best deal for you as opposed to forcing a deal somewhere else.”

    With the Entry Draft just a month away, and free agency coming a few days after that, you can expect the Bruins to move players and draft picks. Hopefully, the Bruins will make the right moves, and we won’t see a repeat of a Johnny Boychuk trade.

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