The free agency market will open tomorrow. Given how much of the 20 10-11 roster is expected to return next season, the Bruins don’t project to be big-time players once the market opens. They could be in the hunt for a depth defenseman to replace Tomas Kaberle and a second- or third-line wing to fill the holes vacated by Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder.
“I’m a little cautious going into this market,” said GM Peter Chiarelli during a conference call this morning. “There’s not the usual supply there normally is. The demand is greater because of the cap floor and because teams have to spend.”
Kaberle and Ryder will not be re-signed prior to tomorrow. The Bruins will continue to keep the lines open with both players if they don’t land the deals they’re seeking on the market.
“That’s the risk we run,” Chiarelli said. “They get a deal and they don’t come back to us. I understand that risk.”
Here’s how the Bruins stand in terms of ’11-12 cap hits:
Patrice Bergeron, $5 million
Milan Lucic, $4.083 million
Marc Savard, $4.007 million
Nathan Horton, $4 million
David Krejci, $3.75 million
Tyler Seguin, $3.55 million
Chris Kelly, $2.125 million
Rich Peverley, $1.325 million
Gregory Campbell, $1.1 million
Daniel Paille, $1.075 million
Shawn Thornton, $812,500
Patrick Eaves (buyout), $258,333
Zdeno Chara, $6,916,667
Dennis Seidenberg, $3.25 million
Andrew Ference, $2.25 million
Johnny Boychuk, $1.875 million
Adam McQuaid, $575,000
Tim Thomas, $5 million
Tuukka Rask, $1.25 million
The cap will be $64.3 million. The Bruins need to re-sign Brad Marchand, who will become a restricted free agent tomorrow. Youngsters Jordan Caron, Steven Kampfer, and Matt Bartkowski are also in the mix to break camp with the big club.
Unless there is a significant change in his condition, Marc Savard will start 2011-12 on long-term injured reserve. The Bruins will be able to exceed the cap by Savard’s $4.007 million annual hit if they wish to do so.
However, the Bruins may not be interested in approaching the cap. They lucked out this year, with Marchand being the only major RFA and just four players (Ryder, Recchi, Kaberle, Shane Hnidy) reaching UFA status.
Next season, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, and Adam McQuaid will be RFAs. Chris Kelly, Johnny Boychuk, Rich Peverley, Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, and Shawn Thornton will be UFAs. Krejci will be looking for a significant payday. Rask and McQuaid will require raises. It’s hard to see the Bruins cutting ties with all their UFAs.
All those raises and replacements, plus the uncertainty of what the next collective bargaining agreement will bring (the current CBA expires after 2011-12), will have the Bruins more interested in wiggle room than hitting the cap ceiling.
“I’m a little wary of the market, first and foremost,” Chiarelli said. “The cap is high. It’s certainly going to come down in some shape or form. I’m wary off the market and where it might be going. We do have guys we want to re-sign. They’re going to command raises. I’m really not in a position to go out and give a guy a big-term contract. I think we can find that help elsewhere other than big-term contracts, and be in a good position to re-sign guys next year.”
* Chiarelli said the Bruins have qualified Brad Marchand, Andrew Bodnarchuk, and Stefan Chaput. That would mean Boris Valabik, acquired from Atlanta in the Peverley trade, was not qualified, making him an unrestricted free agent.
* Hnidy will not be re-signed.