Nearly two weeks into free agency, the Bruins have done very little to jack squat in signing players from the talent pool, as they've inked just two bodies to deals, defenseman Chris Breen and goalie Jeremy Smith, since free agency began back on July 1. With the names continuing to drop like flies around the league, the Bruins have continued to sit on the sidelines as players jet off to other teams. And that will not change in the near future.
According to CSNNE's Joe Haggerty, the Bruins will continue to pass over the remaining top names on the market and instead look towards improving their roster via the trade market. This of course comes as no surprise, as cap space is extremely tight over at the Garden, with the Bruins currently operating with just $5.7 million in room when factoring in the $4 million-plus of Marc Savard's LTI exception. Spending dollars, even on the cheap, on free agents is a luxury the Bruins cannot afford to treat themselves to.
General manager Peter Chiarelli stated publicly before the free agency period began that the Bruins would not be big players in the festivities this year as a result of the limited cap space and needing to take care first and foremost of their own free agents, which include Torey Krug, Reilly Smith, Matt Bartkowski, as well as Justin Florek and Jordan Caron. Deals need to be squared away for Krug, Smith and Florek without question, while the chance remains the B's move on from both Bartkowski and Caron and look at other options from the farm system to plug the holes where they're needed.
Reports also surfaced back in early June that both Johnny Boychuck and Brad Marchand were prime candidates to be the trade chips used in deals for Boston to both A) clear sufficient money off the books and B) get a decent enough right winger in return to plug into their lineup. Cap jail has backed the Bruins into a dark corner, one complete with poison-tipped spikes jutting out from the wall that are primed to kill. Boston now has to maneuver the cap ceiling and dump salary to survive.
With Jarome Iginla gone to Colorado, the early projection is that Loui Eriksson will make the jump to the top line and skate alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic, leaving a hole on the third line to be filled. The Bruins still plan on injecting some of their younger skaters from Providence into their lineup, with the likes of Ryan Spooner, Justin Florek, Matt Fraser and even Jordan Caron all getting a chance to prove they can stick around as bottom-six forward in the NHL. But leaving two, three or potentially four spots in the lineup to the projections of 22-year-old skaters could leave the Bruins in rough shape if neither of them pan out 10-20 games into the year.
Stay tuned to Bruins Life as we cover the daily trade rumors that are promised to drop in the coming weeks.