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Poll: How should Boston handle its cap crunch?

Aug 29, 2014, 10:10 PM EDT

marchboy Getty Images

At this point, Boston Bruins fans following offseason headlines are probably tired of hearing about the team’s salary cap struggles.

Apologies for that, but there are reasons why such issues are festering: they’re the reigning Presidents Trophy winners who’ve experienced some tough losses and still need to lock up a key player or two. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is expected to answer that question/those questions soon enough, yet the conundrum remains as of today.

Washing away Marc Savard‘s $4.027 million cap hit makes a -$800K cap more digestible, but new deals for RFAs Torey Krug and Reilly Smith would likely nullify or even exceed the remainder. So, the question is, what would you do if you were in Chiarelli’s shoes?

Rather than listing every player who could be traded, let’s roll out a few ideas to avoid hundreds of poll choices (note: “try to …” indicates when an option seems more difficult to pull off):

  • Trade Brad Marchand – Despite his willingness to croon in video game commercials, the pest has actually ruffled feathers at times in the organization (rather than just getting under opponents’ skin). He’d likely command a healthy return as a talented-but-affordable player ($4.5 million cap hit through 2016-17) who is still in his prime at 26.
  • Trade Johnny Boychuk – The most-cited option, who most recently discussed and dismissed the possibility on Thursday. As valuable as he is to this team, younger defensemen like Krug and Dougie Hamilton might be able to dull the loss of his production. Besides, his $3.67 million cap hit will expire after this season and he might prove too costly when extension talks arise.
  • Try to trade Dennis Seidenberg – The heart-and-soul defenseman draws more than a little criticism for his possession numbers, at least in some quarters. His $4 million cap hit would mean relief, but the Bruins would probably really struggle to move him following that injury, unless they sugarcoat the deal in a way that might be difficult to stomach. (Of course, you never know in the NHL …)
  • Try to trade Chris Kelly – He’s making $3 million, which is a little much at this point. He’s sort of like the forward version of Seidenberg, though he’s probably a little less marketable on the trade market.
  • Combine lesser/cheaper assets to make room – Perhaps the Bruins could package Gregory Campbell ($1.6 million), Daniel Paille ($1.3 million) and/or Adam McQuaid ($1.57 million) to open up space and room for younger players? It might be easier to pull off than moving Seidenberg and/or Kelly …
  • Stay put and play hardball with Krug/Smith – The Bruins would go more than $3 million under the cap if you do the math with Savard’s LTIR-nullified cap hit, so the B’s could hand Krug and Smith “take it or leave it” deals while opting to move no one at all. This would be much easier said than done, mind you.
  • Other – There are any number of alternate possibilities here, so have at it.

(Seriously, feel free to use that “other” category if needed. If that means something wild like “trade Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron” … it’s a free country. You can expand on such options in the comments, too.)

  1. justinhbhb - Aug 29, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    The beauty of the salary cap era.

    This team will probably go on a decline like Vancouver.


    • blomfeld - Aug 29, 2014 at 10:57 PM


      however let us temper our joy with ‘offerings’ of concern, especially when it comes to the Canuckle situation eh ? … LOL ! … now these fools are tagging 2014-15 as the ‘Year of Change’ ! … can you believe that crap ? … anyway, for sure ‘certain’ things are going to change around here pretty soon, with the Canuckle P&L ‘bottom line’ not being the ‘least’ of them ! :)

      executive summary: the 2014-15 season = Vancouver’s Waterloo !

      GO LUONGO !!!

      GO KESLER !!!

      GO SCHNEIDER !!!

    • freestyle1022 - Aug 30, 2014 at 7:47 AM

      So you’re saying the reigning President Trophy winner with the reigning Vezina winner, Selke winner, and Norris finalist who ONLY lost a 35+ forward, albeit a future hall of famer, but still an older asset, are going to go down the same direction as a team that lacked leadership and strong management? You’re joking right? The salary cap being this low this year was probably a shock to all 30 teams and will inevitably go up next year. If the young guys on the back end grow up this year, Boychuck could be expendable but he’s a Bruin through and through. This team is not in trouble. Not usually do teams find a top six forward on their third line in situations like these. Stop freaking out people, Chiarelli knows what he’s doing.

      • njadvocate111 - Aug 31, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        Do you really think that even last year, they were good or deep enough to beat the teams out west? The answer to that is no, obviously as they were not good enough to beat their rivals. Are they going to the miss the playoffs? Of course not, but that does not mean they are cup contenders. If you think Chara is going to be better at 38 you’re crazy. The cap is an issue because they are not good enough right now to win a cup and cap wise they are in place to lose boychuk and krejci at the end of the year after the overage penalties. If you’re okay with first round playoff exits then, no, you’re right this team is not in trouble. But if you think they are still on the up swing and not risking the last 3 years of the window they have with Chara, you are sorely mistaken. Just ask pens fans how fun it is to have a great regular season and get bounced in the first round, because your GM wouldn’t make the tough decisions. The only play, albeit two months ago was to trade Marchand, but that window is closed now. Expect Early tee times for the boys the next few springs

  2. charastein - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    I’m certainly glad they don’t play your music selections at hockey games.

    Elvis and Abba… How’s that early seventies time warp treating ya?

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:59 PM

      If you want to hear some quality stuff from the 70’s (serious musicianship vs pop), I’d suggest (no particular order):

      Wishbone Ash
      Weather Report
      Return to Forever
      Gentle Giant
      Allman Brothers (before Duane had his fatal crash)

      • blomfeld - Aug 30, 2014 at 9:56 PM

        I’m sorry friend, however all of those groups are ‘crap’ with the exception of Yes and Kansas …

  3. shanekelleytx - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    I’ve thought all summer that Boychuk stays, now I’m not so sure. He’s gone after this season anyway and they need cap space right now and there are guys able to replace him. I think he gets moved to Dallas. The Stars need a defenseman and they have assets to give up. Jim Nill is more than willing to make aggressive moves. Plus, they have a trading history together.

    • erbaker67 - Aug 30, 2014 at 7:29 AM

      Not a Bruins fan but what return would you guys expect from Boychuck being moved? Really the only feasible option would be picks but was curious what return you guys think they would get?

  4. shanekelleytx - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    With that said, Boychuk getting traded reminds me of Mankins being traded: it makes the team worse off than where it began from an immediate talent aspect.

  5. ericg4 - Aug 30, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    I think we’re overstating how hard it would be for the Bruins to turn roughly 3 million into Reilly Smith and Torey Krug here. What they would do is simple. Give them a 1-year “prove it” for short cash in the promise of getting better terms and dollars next offseason. There’s precedent with the Bruins doing that. Tuukka took the 1-year prove it deal, played well enough to get them within two wins of the Cup, and cashed in during the next offseason when the Bruins had the cap space to do it. As it stands currently, 22 million will open up in cap space after this season. That money coming off the books consists of Krejci, Campbell, Paille, Soderberg, Boychuk, McQuaid, Bartkowski (UFA’s) and Dougie, Svedberg, and other short money RFAs. Out of that group, at least Campbell, Paille, McQuaid, and Bartkowski are expendable. Boychuk might be allowed to walk to allow for the young guys to get a shot. With the money coming off the books, they’ll be able to retain the guys they want to retain next year (because Chiarelli loves retaining his guys.)

    That said, I think you could cut some fat off the roster. We already know they want to move a defenseman. If they could find the right situation, Kelly would be a good 3 million to clear.

  6. pastabelly - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:55 AM

    Chiarelli too easily falls in love with his own guys. Kelly is overpaid. Bartkowski doesn’t belong either. This team needs to dump overrated veterans and see what they have in Koko and some of the other young talent. They have done a poor job in developing their own the past few years.

    • mikmachie - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:59 PM

      I disagree, both Marchie and Bergeron are homegrown products as are Hamilton and Krug…. They have been giving Caron a shot and Subban is two years out barring injury or regression as back up goaltender. Koko and Spoons are likely to crack the line up. I agree Kelly is overpaid considering his production, but the two broken legs he has suffered in the last two seasons mean he is both under performing to the contract he signed before the injuries and hard to move. Maybe a compliance buy out, but you can’t buy out injured players so the hope is a healthy Kelly is a better value to either the team or on the trade market. I think keeping Krecji and managing Chara’s minutes with defenders who make up for his veteran skills to help the three or four youngsters on the back end, meaning you will need veterans like Sieds or Boychuk to mentor them. Same on the front end, if you bring in three youngsters, they will need some experience to play with them so they can both reach their potential, but also to keep up the consistency in the system that has brought home the cup and the expectation for more. But hey let’s dump the guys that won the cup and mastered/ developed the Boston system. Montreal built their team to beat the Bs in the playoffs… Stacked their team with Bear slayers like Briere and Vanek rode a hot goalie and a lot of lucky bounces ( misses) by the Bs. In fact the lack of veterans on the back end was exposed by the Habs.

  7. njadvocate111 - Sep 2, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    Are the Bruins going to win a cup, as currently assembled, without Chara? I think B’s fans, and everyone else can agree that the answer is a HARD no. In the long run you’re right, you need to bring young guys in that you spent picks on and get their feet wet. But there is a window that is closing, and once Chara is 40 the window is all but closed. So, thats 2 years left as the “class of the East. So, are you happy with just making the playoffs, and hoping for the right matchup/injuries etc. Or do you take advantage of the window you have, and go all in while you have game changers in or around their primes. If you still disagree, its literally the same thing the Patriots have done for a decade, and the Pens the last 5 years. They are good teams, no doubt about it. But there is a huge gap between good teams and championship caliber teams and being “good enough” usually doesn’t get the job done.

  8. jaywp388 - Sep 2, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    There’s a simple solution to all of this if Chiarelli has the balls to pull the trigger and Claude can stomach a slight philosophy change, 1. Trade Boychuck , you probably won’t get a top 6 toward butt at least a 3rd liner who can score and a few young prospects., 2 Dump off Kelly, you won’t get anything of value for him so take w.e you can get, throw him in the boychuck deal if need be butt the cap space is more valuable then his horrid offence. This clears up around 7 mill plus Savards 3 we are 10 mill under 3. Sign Krug and Smith to mid range deals and extend Krejchi 4 and this is the toughy for Claude. Package Marchand with some P bears like Subban and Spooner for example for a top line toward who can put the puck in the net, we now have around 5 or 6 mill in space after the Krug and smith deals plus the 4 off the books for marchy, as much as I love the little ball of hate he’s inconsistency for the past 2 years gas killed the team in the play offs, and a some one like Kesler who’s all offence is exactly what this team needs he may not be a strong two way player or mix it up on the boards butt he scores, with the new merlot line consisting of young players ie. Koko matter be pasternack this team could turn a corner and be a force once again butt Claudes going to have to change his style or we are sunk regardless of the cap crunch

  9. jaywp388 - Sep 2, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    I apologize for all the grammatical errors, my damn smart phone thinks its so much Smarter then I am, it will completely change words to form an incoherent statement that shows little grasp of the English language, I apologize once again to all the puck heads

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