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    All-Centennial Team

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    Stanley Cup Champs

    Cap hell - Time for "Z" to leave?

    The Boston Bruins are in a bit of a blunder right now. Peter Chiarelli, often known as a “capologist” with his rich education background from Harvard seems to have signed himself into a corner. The Boston Bruins currently have a grand total of $1,640,857 of cap space with a whopping 18 roster players signed. The NHL rulebook states: 
     5.1 Eligible Players - A team shall be composed of 20 players (18 skaters and two goalkeepers) who shall be under contract to the Club they represent.

     The Bruins are required to add at least two more players onto their roster to remain compliant with the NHL rules, while keeping their budget under the $69,000,000 2014-2015 salary cap. This is not going to be an easy task and sometimes situations like this call for some drastic measures. Chiarelli has already acknowledged that they are looking into some trades and rumors are pointing at Johnny Boychuk as the answer. The reality is that Johnny Boychuk is signed until the end of this season and is only at a cap hit of $3,366,667. For what Boychuk brings to the table, consistent, resilient defense with a knack for the clutch goal here and there that cap hit is a bargain. Johnny Boychuk will easily fetch 5-6 million on the open market. 

     The [Bruins] defense is one of the top defenses in the league, but they are going to have to make a move there because there are just too many bodies. Johnny Boychuk's name keeps popping up, but in my opinion any move they make has to be for salary cap reasons and I wouldn't trade Boychuk as a salary dump. - @dominictiano

    My suggestion is that the Bruins potentially look elsewhere, to the cornerstone of the franchise, the "tower of power". It's no secret that Zdeno Chara has been the lifeblood of the back end but he is clearly losing a step in his stride and his speed and agility is decreasing. More and more often you are noticing the Nathan Gerbes and the Jeff Skinners of the world do what seems to be dancing right between big Z's legs. Maybe it is time to test the market on Zdeno Chara to see what kind of assets the Bruins could bring in.
    Chara took a team from the midst of mediocrity to a perennial contender.
    By no means am I stating that Zdeno Chara is not a useful player in the NHL. Zdeno Chara is still an effective defensive defenseman. What I am saying is that Zdeno is now 37 years old and he has a massive $6,916,667 cap hit until 2016-2017 when it drops to $4,000,000. These numbers severely limit the Bruins' ability to comb the free agent market or bring in a decent salaried player into the fold via trade. Not only would there be massive salary cap savings if the Bruins traded the 6'9" Slovak, it would be sure to bring in some decent future assets as well such as roster players that can play now or draft picks and prospects.  I could see a team like the Colorado Avalanche or the Philadelphia Flyers backing up the truck to a player like Chara - a defenseman like that can take a young budding team under his wing and show them what it takes to be a champion in this league.

    Bergeron is ready to take the reigns as captain of the Bruins. His pedigree, experience and accolades have proven it. Dougie Hamilton is just about ready to emerge as a number one defenseman.Get another 2nd pairing defenseman and I think the Bruins' defense is set and prepared for life without Chara. I believe that trading Zdeno is an option that is is coming up sooner rather than later to ice a competitive, cap compliant roster with some serious flexibility and room in the future. One thing is for sure - like it or not, a Chara-less Bruins back end is on the horizon. Whether that is sooner or later is yet to be determined.

    Talk hockey with us - Follow me on Twitter at @achisling and follow BruinsLife at @BruinsLife for more Bruins updates.