Rolling into the new season, I've been writing about the Salary Cap. Lately reports and pundits have been reporting that the Bruins have almost $400 thousand available under the cap without moving anyone. I have been reporting that the Bruins are just over $200 thousand on the cap. Why the difference? The Bruins currently have 12 forwards, 8 defensemen and 2 goaltenders signed and their cap total is $67.8 million which includes Marc Savard's cap hit. After subtracting Savard's $4.007 hit and adding the cap overage from last year, the total comes to $68.643 million. There is your number of just under $400 thousand. That leaves signed 2 goaltenders, 8 defensemen and 11 forwards. Not counted in that mix is Matt Fraser who would add $600 thousand to the cap hit and adjust the cap to $69.243 million or just over $200 thousand beyond the cap. I expect the Bruins would like to possibly carry and additional forward beyond that. So something has to give and it will not be a simple ejection of a player as someone needs to be added.
The second problem is roster spots. The Bruins can have a maximum of 23 players. Typically the Bruins have always carried at least 22. If one of your roster spots is injured, as is Greg Campbell. You can't just adjust your cap for injuries though. To use his cap money, he would have to be placed on the Long Term Injured Reserve, (LTIR). This was how the Bruins were able to use Dennis Seidenberg's money last year. Since it's not expected that Campbell will be out more than 2-3 weeks and expects to be practicing with the team, his money still counts. I expect Fraser to make the team, so somewhere a cap savings must be achieved, so likely, someone will have to be moved via waiver or by trade. Also, any replacements will have to come in and fit under the cap space available. This is why I believe Simon Gagne will not be signed. In the short term, the Bruins could carry David Pastrnak for nine games with no cap hit and then reassign him back to Sweden or a Canadian Junior team. But there would still be that $200 thousand overage. This would limit the players allowed on the roster.
This what the Bruins could do to field a roster under the cap. Hold on to Pastrnak for the nine game tryout. Move Krug up to play forward and keep the other 7 signed defensemen. Keep Fraser on the roster. Accept that Campbell is injured. Waive Jordan Caron. I think he'd clear waivers and even if he didn't, he'd be the least impact loss from the organization. This would allow for 22 players, to be in compliance with the cap, find time to make a trade and allow for Campbell to come back from injury. When Campbell is ready to play, Pastrnak can be moved off the roster.
Here's the downside, the Bruins wouldn't be able to add another player to the roster if a minor injury occurred. It's possible that the Bruins with one or two injuries would be limited to dressing a team with only 18 or 19 players because of the cap. Ideally, the Bruins would like to get cap space back by making a trade to free up $2-4 million. This would give them the flexibility to fill a proper roster from Providence assets or possibly bring in a low cost player in return from a trade that would be on the roster. This could make the next 3-5 days interesting and be a signal of some immediate change going forward.
As I sit and write this article, the Bruins have traded John Boychuk to the New York Islanders in exchange for 2 second round draft picks and a conditional third round draft pick. The Bruins have just solved their cap problem by freeing up $3.367 million in space. The Madness has just grown!
Until Next Time!