According to multiple reports, the Bruins and Jarome Iginla have begun talks on a contract extension to keep the 37-year-old winger in Boston for next season, and possibly beyond. Possibly.
The Bruins and Camp Iginla have some very tough and potentially ruthless negotiations ahead of them as the two sides look to come to an agreement on terms of a new deal. The Bruins, already having to deal with the cap penalty of Iginla's bonus money earned last season being pushed onto this year's cap number, and Iginla have created a situation that'll solve itself only by one party or the other caving into the wishes
and conceding on their terms.
Per the CBA, teams can only sign players aged 35-year or older to one-year deals if they are bonus laden contracts. The Bruins want to sign Iginla to another deal almost identical to the one they agreed to last summer, and by doing so, the Bruins can put off the cap hit to next year and deal with it in a year's time, a time when the league salary cap will increase, as it will for the years to come after that.
Boston's angle has another side to it, as the Bruins don't want to commit another year and more dollars beyond this upcoming season, as they are weary of Iginla maintaining his play heading into the 2015-16 season. Questions where raised about the possible lack of speed on Boston's top line, most notably Milan Lucic and Iginla separate from David Krejci. Their play saw an incredible dip in the playoffs, leading many to believe that the grind of the 82-game season wore out Iginla a little more than what was expected.
But don't tell Iginla that. He doesn't want to play under another mercenary-esque contract where he would have to earn a vast majority of his money by hitting the different levels of performance constructed into the deal. Last season, Iginla earned $3.7 million of a possible $4.2 million in bonuses, missing out on $500,000 when the Bruins failed to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Bruins may be content to ride Iginla for one more season and one more crack at the Cup, but beyond that, they do not want him taking the spot on the first line for another year after that if it can be filled with a younger, faster and more dynamic skater.
If the Bruins are unwilling to budge on their stance, Iginla has a choice: agree to play under another one-year, bonus laden contract or test free agency and search for the security of a multi-year deal. The fact that both sides are talking at the moment is a good sign, as both parties are putting in the work and trying to bang out a deal that fits.
Speaking of fits, Iginla in Boston worked wonders for the Bruins. His style of play, leadership, ability to score in big moments and overall work ethic meshed flawlessly with coach Claude Julien's system. We've seen plenty of players (Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin, Blake Wheeler, Chuck Kobasew, Brad Boyes, etc.) shine then fizzle out as they try and model their goal-scoring game into a more hard-nosed, defensive style. Iginla and the B's know he works in Boston, and Iginla has to ponder if he can stomach changing cities and franchises yet again this late in his career for potentially greener (pun intended) pastures and another restart in a new system.