Could the Bruins face some difficulty re-signing their key players? Read on for the latest.
BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reported Sunday the Bruins could find themselves squeezed for cap space if the salary cap drops under the next CBA. Their priority is re-signing goaltender Tuukka Rask, but if he doubles his $1.25 million annual cap hit, it won’t leave much room to re-sign other key free agents, like pending UFA Chris Kelly. Dupont suggested two options to free up space are trading goalie Tim Thomas and placing Marc Savard (post concussion symptoms) on long-term injury reserve at the start of next season. Pending UFA defenseman Greg Zanon’s agent believes the Bruins management would like to bring him back, but they’ve got a crowded blueline and a move may have to be made. Zanon’s shot-blocking, “in your face” style could attract suitors on the UFA market.
ESPN.COM: James Murphy recently Kelly’s agent claimed contract negotiations with the Bruins have stalled, as he and Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli haven’t spoken since the club was eliminated from the playoffs back on April 27.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the salary cap goes up to $69-$72 million over the summer, but then declines under the next CBA, it could return to around the current rate of $64.3 million, which also means existing salaries could be rolled back to achieve that decline. The Bruins currently have just over $59 million invested in 18 players for next season, giving them roughly $5.272 million in available cap space. They could free up another $4 million if, as expected, Savard is placed on LTIR to being the season, though that would only allow them to spend over the cap ceiling by the equivalent amount of his salary. Thomas could be dealt, but Chiarelli isn’t in any hurry to make that move, and in his “end-of-season” remarks, sounded reluctant to make any significant moves which shakes up his roster. If Kelly cannot be re-signed, the expectation is he could return to the Ottawa Senators, as he still maintains a home in the Ottawa area, and Senators management dealt him to Boston last year reluctantly, due to a need to clear cap space.