Earlier 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.