With the salary cap set at $69 million for the 2014-15 season, there’s not much wiggle room for Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins when it comes to free agency. Boston’s GM has already said his team won’t be major players come July 1, and with an already pretty full roster, there aren’t too many moves to be made regardless.
But with that being said, there are some potential slots to fill, and the Bruins will at the very least kick the tires on a handful of players. Here are some names that could help the Bruins in free agency. Next
Mark Fayne, D
This move requires a bit of explaining. The Bruins’ blue line looks pretty set heading into the offseason, but it’s also an area where Chiarelli could shed some salary cap via a trade. It’s also somewhere the Bruins elected to “let be” at last year’s trade deadline despite losing Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid. So should the Bruins look to move a blue liner, Fayne would become a player who would fit in very nicely in Boston.
He’s spent the last few seasons on the Devils top defensive pairing, while he’s made bottom-pairing money. It’s not his offensive game (13 goals in 242 career games) that makes him so effective, but rather his ability to drive possession and play tough minutes. Fayne was in a division that had him regularly matching up with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and Rick Nash, meaning he wasn’t exactly sheltered when it came to quality of competition. And he’s still young, at 27, and durable, two qualities that should attract the Bruins front office, again, should it seek to tweak its back end. Next
Ales Hemsky, F
If the Bruins and Jarome Iginla cannot agree on a new deal, then Boston will need to fill that right wing spot on Patrice Bergeron’s line. Hesmky could perform that role quite well, although a thin free agent market may price Hesmky out of the Bruins’ range.
Hemsky’s production dipped toward the end of his tenure in Edmonton, but in his post-trade deadline cup of coffee in Ottawa, he posted steadier numbers. That might have had more to do with being put on a more talented line, but the likes of Bergeron and Brad Marchand aren’t lacking in that department. What will hurt the Bruins the most here is again, their lack of flexibility with the salary cap, and just how thin the market is for top six wingers. Hesmky won’t make the $5.5 million he did in the final year of his previous contract, but again, it will be difficult for the Bruins to add anyone of note already so close to the cap ceiling. Next
Dominic Moore, F
One of the Bruins’ biggest weaknesses last season was its fourth line, and Moore would be a potential ingredient in a new recipe for Merlot. Coming off a strong season for the Rangers, Moore won’t command a large cap hit (he’s never made over $1.2 million in his career) but does everything you would want from a fourth line player in today’s NHL. He’s defensively accountable and can kill penalties and play against top competition. Moore started nearly half the time in the defensive zone, and won 56 percent of his faceoffs. He’s not going to provide much offensively, but could certainly re-energize the Bruins bottom three, an area that could use fixing. Next
Mason Raymond, F
A cheaper alternative to Hemsky, if the Bruins were to sign Raymond, a re-shuffling of the depth chart would likely follow. Raymond isn’t a top six forward, but would add some needed speed and scoring touch to the Bruins third line. In that scenario, either Loui Eriksson or Reilly Smith would slot in next to Bergeron.
But more on Raymond, who is coming off a year in Toronto in which he tallied 19 goals: He also recorded 26 assists for the Leafs last year while getting time on the power play, and scoring six goals with his team a man up. Raymond was on a one-year, $1 million deal, but proved he’s still capable of producing. Next
Ryan Carter, F
If Chiarelli is looking to replace Shawn Thornton through free agency, Carter is the guy. He would be a good upgrade over the Bruins’ ex-enforcer, while still providing some of the snarl it seems the Bruins value. He’ll certainly be affordable, coming of a two-year, $1.55 million deal, and won’t be looking for anything long-term. He also isn’t completely offensively inept, netting 13 goals over his last two season, while that obviously would not be his main objective as a fourth liner.
The Bruins will simply need to decide if they’ll fill out some of their roster holes internally versus through free agency. In this case, looking at a player in a lesser role, this isn’t a make-or-break signing, and there are certainly candidates in the system that can fill that role, while Carter obviously comes with the NHL experience. Back to the beginning
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