Examining the Bruins potential salary cap situation

timthomas.jpgEarlier today, James told you about the Bruins signing defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a four-year contract extension and mentioned, briefly, that the Bruins could be running into issues with the salary depending on the moves they’re looking at making once the off-season officially begins.

Taking a look at the Bruins salary cap situation for next year courtesy of CapGeek, there’s some interesting choices to be made. If you’re to believe what their list says and that guys like Trent Whitfield, Zach Hammil, Brad Marchand and Jeff Penner are going to make the Bruins roster next year, that’s an added $3.3 million dollars that’s free to go to AHL Providence without fear of going on waivers, thanks to the two-way contract. That said, if you send that money to the AHL, then you’re looking at just over $51 million committed to seven forwards, five defensemen and two goalies. Yikes.

The two-way contract is the Bruins’ key (and other teams for the record) to escaping salary cap issues, so the Bruins to have the room to free up even that much money is pretty fantastic. The problems come in when you’ve got potentially good players with two-way deals that you’d rather have playing for the big club when it comes to their contracts. Not for nothing, but I only mention this because now former Denver University center Joe Colborne could make a run at getting a start in Boston. His $1.2 million entry-level salary might dictate otherwise though should the Bruins have other ideas in free agency.

Also playing into that will be the contract for the second overall pick they take in this year’s draft. The previous two #2 picks in the draft (Victor Hedman in 2009, Drew Doughty 2008) make about $3.5 million per year on their entry level deals. Counting in either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin for about that much money should be banked upon, unless they plan on having them stay in juniors for another year (doubtful).

Whether the NHLPA decides to accept the escalator that decides whether the salary cap goes from $56 million to $58 million will obviously have a lot to do with what teams like the Bruins will do personnel-wise, but with three seemingly key players also checking in as restricted free agents (Mark Stuart, Vladimir Sobotka, and Blake Wheeler) the Bruins are going to have be a bit more wise about the salary decisions than they have been in recent years.

If you’re a Bruins fan and you’re hoping that the B’s will solve their goal-scoring problems by wading into the Ilya Kovalchuk waters, consider this to be your glass of cold water thrown in your face.

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    Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

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    Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

    (Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

    You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

    Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

    Letang told his side of the story:

    The Capitals disagree:

    While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

    No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

    Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

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    If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

    The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

    (Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

    Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

    A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

    First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

    Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

    Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

    In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

    This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

    Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

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    It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

    (You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

    There are a few things we do know already.

    For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

    Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

    In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

    There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

    Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

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    Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

    ***

    As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

    Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

    Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

    Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

    Things could get ugly in Game 3:

    One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

    Also, lateness of the check:

    The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

    Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.

    Read reactions to the check here.