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Tuesday, 24 June 2014 00:28

No Big Splash in Boston Bruins' Free Agency Plans This Summer

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If you really liked the starting lineup for the Boston Bruins last season, general manager Peter Chiarelli brought you some good news on Monday, saying that he does not envision the team making a huge splash in free agency this offseason.

During a press conference with the media, Chiarelli stated that the Bruins would look to make minor changes in the offseason due to concerns over both the salary cap and the chemistry of his roster.  The Bruins have five unrestricted free agents from last year's President's Trophy winners, with forward Jarome Iginla the top priority for a contract extension.  The remaining unrestricted free agents are expected to be released, as both Corey Potter and Andrej Meszaros were trade-deadline acquisitions, and both Chad Johnson and Shawn Thornton will not be resigned.  The team announced late Monday that backup goalie Niklas Svedberg signed a one-year contract worth $600,000, making Johnson expendable.  Thornton was notified last week that the team would not be offering him a contract for the 2014-15 season.

The Bruins currently have about $9 million to spend before hitting the NHL salary cap.  Along with Iginla, the team will need to address the contracts of their three restricted free agents: forward Reilly Smith and defensemen Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski.  The Bruins will also have a $4 million cap exception from the contract of injured center Marc Savard, but that money will be wiped out thanks to the $4.7 million in bonuses that multiple players hit by reaching incentives last season, with the majority coming from Iginla's contract.  Offering the forward another bonus-filled contract would be desirable for the team, but with Iginla's strong play last year he may not be willing to accept such a deal.

With such little room in the salary cap, the team is not expected to make any significant additions via free agency.  Replacing Shawn Thornton on the fourth line could be accomplished by promoting a player from Providence, especially with the recent successes of Kevan Miller, Matt Fraser, and Torey Krug after their promotions.  Ryan Spooner, Alexander Khokhlachev, Justin Florek, Anthony Camara, and Bobby Robins are all possible additions to the Merlot line next season.

There is also the possibility that Chiarelli could add other pieces to this roster via an offseason trade.  Chiarelli provided his own fireworks last year, trading star winger Tyler Seguin for multiple players just after the Fourth of July.  A similar blockbuster involving the likes of Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, or even Zdeno Chara is highly unlikely, but last year proved that anything is possible with the Bruins' front office.  Otherwise, Bruins fans will be seeing a lot of familiar faces sporting the spoked B starting in October and hopefully ending in early June.

Adam Belue

My name is Adam Belue, I'm from Fall River, MA, and I'm a sports fanatic.  I'll watch and write about just about any and every sport, even the fringe ones that aren't really sports like bowling, poker, and ultimate frisbee.  I'm a huge Green Bay Packers fan, and a self-proclaimed New England Patriots hater (and proud of it!)... which makes my job in a sporting goods store quite interesting.  I'm a big fan of the other local teams (Bruins, Red Sox, and Celtics), along with the Alabama Crimson Tide and college football as a whole.  I may be a bit obsessed (or a lot obsessed) with Taylor Swift, and I've seen her in concert four times so far... some of the best times I've had by the way her concerts are quite the experience!  I'm also a huge tennis fan, and have played the sport for a good majority of my life.  I wish more people watched and appreciated tennis.  I'm currently a part of the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox Beat Team on CLNS Radio, and post a weekly fantasy football and college football column during the season.