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The off-season for the Boston Bruins just got a whole lot more difficult. And that's putting it lightly.

Through multiple reports, the NHL has settled on the final cap number for the upcoming 2014-15 season: it is is $69 million. Many projected the cap to creep right above the $71 million mark. It isn't. And this is bad news for the Bruins. Very bad news.

With the final number set at $69 million, the Bruins as of today sit at $67,329,643 for their total committed salary, leaving them with just $1.670 million in cap room to work with, according to CapGeek.com. Factoring in the Marc Savard LTIR number to be used later on, the Bruins have just about $5.6 million to work with heading into tonight's draft and into free agency starting Tuesday, July 1.

With things as they are, the Bruins will have just the $5.6 million to sign the free agents they have under their watch, which include Torey Krug, Reilly Smith and Jarome Iginla. There is no alternative here for either player Krug or Smith: both players have to return to Boston this summer, and there is no other scenario that is acceptable.

Assuming they both double their current salary and sign for roughly $1.8 million a year, that leaves the Bruins with just about $3.5 million to use on other players to fill out their roster and try to bring back Jarome Iginla. With the news dealt out that the cap is set at just $69 million, a return to Boston for Jarome Iginla is not looking good at this point.

There have been rumblings that GM Peter Chiarelli and the B's are preparing to make a trade or two during this weekend's draft in order to free up cap space in advance of free agency next week. Brad Marchand ($4.5 million) and Johnny Boychuck ($3.66 million) remain the two most viable options to trade away and move salary and still get a decent enough package in return.

If Chiarelli decides to pull a 180 on his stance on not using the buyouts available to him, the most likely candidates would be both Daniel Paille and/or Gregory Campbell. Even Chris Kelly and Adam McQuaid have a chance of being boughtout, as there is a precedent set in previous years of buying out injured players from their contracts, it would just require a bit of maneuvering on the part of the Bruins.

Get ready, Bruins fans, because with this news hitting the league just hours before the Draft is set to kick off, we could be in for some major fireworks this weekend with the B's. The team we saw flame out in Round 2 of the playoffs back in May will not be the same one we see in a week's time.

Hold on to your butts. Flip the switch, Sam!


Mark Burke 6/27/2014 05:48:00 PM Edit

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