An independent arbitrator awarded Blake Wheeler a one-year, $2.2 million decision according to ESPN Boston’s Jimmy Murphy. It’s important to note that the Boston Bruins are not required to sign that deal, though.
Instead, the Bruins have 48 hours to decide if they’ll honor the proposed deal, walk away from the contract or buy out another player to make room for Wheeler’s deal. Much like the Antti Niemi contract, the Bruins might also opt to trade Wheeler to a team with a little more space.
With a comical $12,229 in cap space (according to CapGeek.com) and No. 2 overall pick Tyler Seguin still waiting for his entry-level contract, something will have to give in Beantown. It might be worth noting, though, that NHL teams can be about 10 percent above the cap during a portion of the summer, so Boston could conceivably sign both Seguin and Wheeler then figure things out later on.
While rumors of a Marc Savard or Tim Thomas trade fly around from time to time, the latest hypothesis is that the team might try to move hot-and-cold forward Michael Ryder and his $4 million cap hit to the minors. Time will tell if the Bruins go with one of those three options or follow a totally different route.
Here are the results from a PHT readers poll regarding Wheeler’s arbitration value. As you’ll see, the $2.2 million amount finished just behind the most popular amount. Considering the many choices readers had in that poll, I’d say that’s a nice job by the masses. (Click to enlarge)
Again, GM Peter Chiarelli has two days to decide Wheeler’s future with the team. We’ll keep you updated on all the juicy rumors and scuttlebutt. It should be plenty of fun.