Free Agency Preview Part II: Will Jarome Iginla return to Boston?
Tops on the list for the Bruins this off-season in regards to free agency is the decision to be made with top line right winger Jarome Iginla. Of all the "tweaking" that needs to happen this summer for the Black and Gold, squaring away a deal for (or moving on from) Iginla is the top-priority for Boston in the weeks to come.
Will Iggy return to Boston? (via causewaycrowd.com)
Iginla netted 30 goals and 31 assists in his first season as a Bruin, good for third on the team in total points. His consistent and incredible work ethic was constant throughout the year, and his leadership and desire to always improve his game fueled his linemates in David Krejci and Milan Lucic. All three skaters finished in the the top-5 for scoring on the B's, with Krejci leading the way with 69 points, his highest total since the 2008-09 season.
The first line was Boston's most dominate and productive line for them in the regular season, but in the playoffs, it was an entirely different story.
The line as a whole saw a hideous drop-off from their production in the regular year, as Krejci didn't score a single goal while only recording four assists. Lucic recorded seven points (four goals , three assists), and even though Iginla led the B's in scoring with five goals, he too only finished with seven points. Of the many reasons why the Bruins fell to Montreal, a lack of production from the KIL line was arguably the most damning.
When Iginla signed with Boston last summer, he signed a one-year, $1.8 million deal laced with another $4.2 million in incentives by way of goal-scoring/total appearances that could see the final total rise to as much as $6 million in total. Well now that the season's over, Iginla's final cap hit was $5.5 million, as he missed out on $500,000 as a result of the Bruins
Iginla is an unrestricted free
agent, giving him the freedom to sign with any team of which he pleases. Iginla
said in the exit interviews at the Garden last week that he wants the security
of a multi-year deal for the upcoming season, as he believes he still has a lot
left in the tank. The Bruins are unwilling to sign the 36-year-old winger to
anything beyond another one-year, incentives based deal. And with the rules of
the CBA prohibiting teams from signing players aged 35 or older to multi-year
deals that are primarily incentives based, here lies in the impasse for Iginla
and the Bruins.
The Bruins have other names to
take care of for free agents, with the likes of Reilly Smith,Torey Krug, Matt
Bartkowski and Justin Florek chief among them. The Bruins would love nothing
more than to sign Iginla to another one-year, incentives based deal as to keep
the cap hit on the contract as low as possible while putting off the bonus
money towards next seasons cap number.
The Verdict: Iginla resigns with
Whether or not Iginla will stay
in Boston is entirely up to him. Iginla has two paths to choose from this
summer: test the free agent market for the first time in his career and search
for the security of a multi-year deal with another team, or, stick with the
Bruins to shoot for the elusive Stanley Cup while playing under another
In the end, I think the Bruins
and Iginla will work out a deal to keep the forward playing in a spoked-B for
the 2014-15 season. Even though he would be leaving years and money on the table, I don't think
he wants to take the chance of moving to another team this late in his
career after finding one that fits him so nicely in Boston. The two sides will
come to an agreement on a deal that works for both parties, one that gives cap
flexibility for Boston and a pretty nice paycheck for Iginla.