The Boston bruins have been one of the NHL’s elite teams for the last six years, winning four titles in the Northeast division and making two Stanley Cup Finals appearances, including their Cup win in 2011. But success may be finally catching up with the Bruins, who face serious salary cap concerns in the upcoming season; concerns that will only grow worse in 2015.
The loss of future Hall-of-Famer Jarome Iginla to free agency this summer may be just the first in many personnel changes the Bruins face between now and next summer. Even without Iginla’s $6 million salary, Boston remains $800,000 over the salary cap for the upcoming season with Restricted Free Agents, defenseman Torey Krug and winger Reilly Smith, still unsigned.
While rumors persist that the Bruins will address their current cap issue by dealing defenseman Johnny Boychuk and his $3.3 million cap hit, Boston faces salary cap Armageddon next summer, this has already affected their odds if the book makers and betting sports blogs are to be believed.
Thanks to the NHL’s rich new TV contract with Canadian cable TV giant Rogers, the salary cap is expected to rise as high as $75 million for 2015/2016 from the $69 million in the upcoming campaign.
That is little comfort to the Bruins, who already have almost $47 million committed to just 10 players for the 2015/2016 season.
Center David Krejci is scheduled to become an Unrestricted Free Agent next summer, and will undoubtedly be looking for a raise from his current $5.25 million salary.
Forwards Daniel Paille, Carl Soderberg and Gregory Campbell have played key depth roles for the Bruins in recent seasons, while costing the B’s a mere $4 million combined in 2014/2015. All three are UFAs following the upcoming season, and will be in demand on the open market.
The impact of losing the blue collar trio, anchors of the Bruins’ bottom six, compounded by the departure of Shawn Thornton to the Florida Panthers via free agency this summer, could result in a serious change in the culture of the Bruins’ locker room.
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton’s entry-level deal also expires next summer. The 21 year-old stud can earn just under $1.5 million with bonuses in 2014/2015, and will have earned a pay hike in 2015.
With the future contract status of Smith and Krug still up in the air, the upcoming season will be an important one for a Bruins team that could look dramatically different in just 12 months time.