|MARK ZALESKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS|
Torey Krug and Reilly Smith signed their extensions today, which is good news for Bruins fans who wanted these players back. While the move clarifies a bit more about the Bruins’ offseason cap structure, there are still quite a few unknowns.
The biggest unknown is Carl Soderberg. Do Krug and Smith’s extensions spell the end of Carl’s time in Boston?
Let’s do a little number crunching.
This is the Bruins roster as it stands for next year (players that are under contract):
Milan Lucic (6.000) – David Krejci (7.250) – David Pastrnak (0.925)
Brad Marchand (4.500) – Patrice Bergeron (6.500) – Reilly Smith (3.425)
__________________ – ____________________ – Loui Eriksson (4.250)
Maxime Talbot (1.750) – Chris Kelly (3.000) – Brian Ferlin (0.925)
Zdeno Chara (6.917) - _________________
Dennis Seidenberg (4.000) - ______________
Torey Krug (3.400) – Kevan Miller (.800)
Tuukka Rask (7.000)
Savard on LTIR: 4.007
Total excluding Savard: 60.642
Here are the Bruins free agents and their expected salary range:
Dougie Hamilton (4-4.5/yr range) - Contract Comparisons: John Carlson, Jake Gardiner, Victor Hedman, Kevin Shattenkirk
Ryan Spooner (0.6-1.5/yr range) – Contract Comparisons: Young players on 1 year “Prove It” deals
Brett Connolly (1-2/yr range) – Contract Comparisons: Hard to predict Connolly’s deal
Niklas Svedberg (1-1.5/yr range) - Contract Comparisons: Backup Goaltender money
Carl Soderberg (3-4/yr range) - Contract Comparisons: Martin Hanzal, David Desharnais, Kyle Turris
Gregory Campbell – Probably not re-signing
Daniel Paille – Probably not re-signing
Adam McQuaid – I think he prices himself out of Boston
Matt Bartkowski – Probably not re-signing
If the salary cap modestly increases to 71 million, then in this potential scenario, not signing Carl Soderberg would put the Bruins at around 69 million, leaving little room to sign a top 4 defensemen.
Though Carl Soderberg’s potential departure may seem like a big loss, Ryan Spooner’s recent emergence may suggest that may not be the case. Spooner has improved his game significantly and seems to be ready for a role in the NHL. This may have prompted the Bruins to be more courageous in giving out these extensions, knowing that there will be a solid replacement for Soderberg. Without Spooner, the Bruins may have been more inclined to sign Soderberg any way they can.
If the Bruins really wanted to re-sign Soderberg, they could find a way to make it happen. There are no bonus overage penalties expected for next year, and there are plenty of contracts on the team without a trade/movement clause. They can move pieces around to accommodate for him. Will the Bruins want to?
Ultimately, while the cap is a problem for the Bruins, it’s not the reason Soderberg will be leaving the Bruins. It’s Ryan Spooner’s emergence and potential that will have them saying goodbye to the Swede.
I expect a trade or two to be made in the offseason to clear even more cap space, but I don’t see the Bruins re-signing Carl Soderberg next year, unless the Bruins decide they don’t’ like Spooner and trade him instead. I wouldn’t rule that out completely, whether it may seem crazy or not.