Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bruins Free Agents

According to CapGeek, the Bruins have 7 Unrestricted Free Agents on July 1st, and 2 Restricted Free Agents. Since Joe Corvo already stated he won't be signing with Boston, that's one to cross off the list. Brian Rolston is a question mark because he may or may not retire, and if he doesn't retire, it doesn't guarantee he will stay with Boston.

  • UFA
    • Brian Rolston
    • Chris Kelly
    • Gregory Campbell
    • Daniel Paille
    • Joe Corvo
    • Greg Zanon
    • Mike Mottau
  • RA
    • Benoit Pouliot
    • Tuukka Rask
Brian Rolston's cap hit this past season was $5,062,500. When he was traded here, he became the highest paid forward, carrying that ridiculous salary he signed with New Jersey several years ago. His actual salary was 5 million in the 4-year contract. If he does decide to play another season, I would love to see the Bruins re-sign him. Obviously he must know that he will take a significant pay cut of about $4 million. If he will sign cheap, I'd love to see him give it a go with the Bruins for the entire season, given how much he thrived when he got traded here at the deadline. 

Chris Kelly is my biggest worry. He just had a career year with 20 goals, and he has a Stanley Cup ring on his resume along with the impact of his playoff performances the past few years, and his apparent leadership qualities reflected in the fact that he was chosen as one of the secondary Alternate Captains. His cap hit this past season was $2.125 million, and the final year of a 4-year contract where his actual salary was $2 million per year. Given the contracts signed to pending UFA's earlier this season like Rich Peverley (a pay raise of $1.325 to $3.250 for 3 years) and Johnny Boychuk (3 years at $3.36 million, up from $1.875), and especially Krejci's ($5.25). Kelly could probably sign for much more than that if he decides to test the NHL market. He's the type of role player coming off a career year that gets a big UFA salary and turns out to be a huge disappointment to the desperate team that signed him. He would have a lot of pressure to perform as good as he did this year if not better if he gets a big raise. Depending on the team, they may rely on him far more than the Bruins would for scoring and leadership, and even if he is able to deliver, what if that team isn't even playoff eligible? 

It makes me a little nervous he hasn't re-signed with the Bruins yet. I don't know if it's because he wants too much, or the Bruins are simply offering too little, or it's a matter of contract length or whatever. I think he's too valuable to the Bruins to walk away in free agency, although depending on the Bruins cap situation, if he's demanding too high a price, then...good riddance. Except please don't leave.

Gregory Campbell is coming off a 2-year, $1.1 million contract. That is the same contract Shawn Thornton just re-signed with earlier this year. Thornton's value to the team doesn't need to be stated, but Campbell's is questionable. He was important in the Cup run, but he had what seemed like an off year this year. I know he had some injuries, but he just didn't perform well overall. Maybe it was his linemates, added pressure from all the injuries to other players, the fatigue from the Cup run, but I don't know what the Bruins would value him at. I feel like it would be the same salary he currently has, but if he tested the market as a free agent, he could probably get a lot more just because of his role in the Cup win. He also could have an opportunity to play on 3rd or even 2nd line on another team without as much depth as the Bruins, where he is in the 4th line constantly. But the 4th line should remain in tact, because I think they were still overall more effective than any other team's 4th line. I have no idea what to expect from this, though. I have a bad feeling he walks, but I don't want to see that.

Speaking of the Energy Line, Daniel Paille is coming off a year where his cap hit was $1.075. He's been a healthy scratch on many occasions, so I wonder if the Bruins are even interested in re-signing him. I would hope so, if he's willing to stay at a "low" price. For the sake of being friends with Bergeron, he should stay.

I have no idea about Zanon or Mottau. Zanon fit in well with the Bruins, I thought, and his $2.1 salary could probably increase if he signed with other teams (crappier teams), but I would imagine he would want to stay on a team that is good and where his role is pretty clearly defined. I have no idea about Mottau so I won't even try to guess. If Dougie Hamilton makes the team next year, or perhaps Torey Krug makes a big splash, it could have a huge effect on these re-signings. But of course, those tangibles won't be determined until long after July 1st.

As for the Restricted Free Agents, I know Tuukka Rask has stated he wants to stay in Boston, and he will stay in Boston. He didn't have a great year, and also had some injury problems, but I think his value to the team, even in a backup position, is pretty clear. His salary last year was $1.5. Consider that Khudobin is signed through next season with a one-way contract at $800,000 and the Bruins don't want to let him go, many think Tim Thomas will get traded. I laugh at that absurd notion as I always have. I expect Thomas to be back next year and to fight for a starting position with Tuukka. I do not know how much more money Tuukka will be getting as far as a raise, but I imagine he wants some stability. Since he's restricted, he doesn't have as much leverage as an unrestricted, but I'm sure plenty of other teams would send him some tempting offer sheets.

Benoit Pouliot is the other RFA. He signed with the Bruins last year as a UFA for $1.350 on a 1-year deal. I think he was a good signing and fit in well. He needs better consistency but he had flashes of brilliance. I think he re-signs here, although I'm confused as to why he was a UFA before and is an RFA now.

According to capgeek, the Bruins only have a projected cap space of $5.272. I don't know if that is set in stone. That doesn't seem like much to work with. Here's how it currently is spread out:
  • $6.916 million, Zdeno Chara
  • $5.25 million, David Krejci
  • $5 million, Tim Thomas
  • $5 million, Patrice Bergeron
  • $4.083 million, Milan Lucic
  • $4 million, Marc Savard -- who knows how this is going to pan out. He obviously isn't coming back, and I don't know how LTIR works on cap space.
  • $4 million, Nathan Horton
  • $3.55 million, Tyler Seguin
  • $3.366 million, Johnny Boychuk
  • $3.25 million, Rich Peverley
  • $3.25 million, Dennis Seidenberg
  • $2.5 million, Brad Marchand
  • $2.25, Andrew Ference
  • $1.7 million, Torey Krug
  • $1.56 million, Adam McQuaid
  • $1.1 million, Shawn Thornton
  • $1.1 million, Jordan Caron
  • <$1 million, Anton Khudobin
That's only an 18-man roster. It currently ranks as the 3rd highest salary in the NHL for next season, although again, who knows how much the cap will fluctuate and which free agents will sign where, or get traded. I think Chiarelli planned this better than it looks, so I'll trust him of course. July 1st should be an interesting day. I don't want any Michael Ryder incidents - a beloved player leaves, scores 30+ goals, but misses the playoffs. We could've used him. He signed a 2-year, $3.5 million contract by the way. And I will still hold onto my dream of Zach Parise leaving the Devils and signing as a UFA here this summer.

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