There was an outcry when
Johnny Boychuk was traded to the New York Islanders before the season began.
Some questioned the timing and some questioned the value received in return.
Not surprisingly, given the Bruins’ defensive struggles, the outcry still
remains today. Bruins fans loved this guy and he loved them back. So why was he
traded in the first place? Many fans claim they didn’t need to trade Boychuk.
Is that really the case? I attempt to figure it out.
The simple answer is
It’s important to note
that the Bruins had to manipulate the roster in order to maximize Savard’s LTIR
(also keep in mind that Savard’s career is pretty much over, so LTIR room is
basically cap space for the Bruins). The trick here was to get the 23 man
roster as close to the cap as possible. Here is how the LTIR works:
For example, let’s say
that the cap is 70 million and that the Bruins had 3 million in cap space. A
player making 4 million in cap hit gets injured and is placed on LTIR. Then the
Bruins would have flexibility to spend up to 71 million, because there were 3
million in cap space available from the Bruins to get to the upper limit of 70.
The remainder is 1 million, meaning the team could spend up to 71 million.
Keeping the LTIR
process in mind, in the following proposed scenario, the Bruins would have had
to figure out two things. First was how to fit Johnny Boychuk in the cap at the
beginning of the season. Second was a bit easier, which was to figure out which
waiver exempt guys to call up for opening night (and send back down).
Let’s take a look at
the opening night roster:
Bruins Cap: 64,220,500
(69,000,000 – bonus overage of 4,779,500)
Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Craig Cunningham, Loui Eriksson, Brian Ferlin, Matt
Fraser, Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Bobby Robins, Reilly Smith, Carl Soderberg,
**David Krejci on IR,
Gregory Campbell & Anthony Camara on Non-Roster IR (Camara was not on the
NHL Active Roster after the trade deadline last season, so I believe he isn’t
counted toward the cap)
(Zdeno Chara, Dennis
Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski, Torey
(Tuukka Rask, Malcolm
Subban, Niklas Svedberg)
Room w/ Savard on LTIR:
So the game here seems pretty simple, the Bruins would have had to clear about $3,400,000 million in space to make Boychuk fit.
Room w/ Savard on LTIR:
around 698,333 (depending on how roster is manipulated)
With the proposed
transactions, you are looking at 14 forwards (3 injured), 7 defensemen, and 2
goaltenders to start opening night. That would mean no depth forwards on your roster until Krejci or Campbell
returns. Even then, if another player gets injured, it would have been
difficult to create the necessary room for another player.The Bruins would have
$698,333 in cap space, with the bonus of $600,000 (from Hamilton) shadowing
over the little remaining room (basically Bruins would have $98,333 in cap space – if they
go over, there will be another overage penalty for next year). The Bruins certainly don't want another penalty for next year.
Obviously this would
strap the Bruins for any future moves, in case of injuries or future transactions. It
puts a strangle hold on any type of flexibility. Boychuk had no clauses, so it
made it much easier to trade him. The Bruins brass didn't seem to think Boychuk
was in their future plans. They were confident that Miller or McQuaid could
step their game up. In the end, however, it was Boychuk who stepped his game up with a
Of course, the Bruins
brass could have explored trades for Kelly (limited NTC, has to supply 8 team
trade list) for limited value or get rid of veterans like Campbell and Paille
to create more cap space. That, however, would have meant rolling with around 3-5 rookies in your opening night lineup. I don’t think the Bruins wanted to do
that, even if it meant keeping Boychuk.
In the end, the Bruins
valued the services of guys like Kelly and Campbell over Boychuk. As you can
see, it would have been pretty difficult to find a way to make Boychuk fit. The
Bruins also probably didn’t think they had a chance to re-sign him at the price
that they wanted, so in the end, they traded him for good value and to clear
cap. Trading Boychuk for cap was a bad reason to trade him, but it’s time for
the fans to let it go.
If you ask me what I would
have done though, after the proposed transactions from above:
Room w/ Savard on LTIR: around 698,333
Trade Matt Bartkowski
Call up David Warsofsky
That would give the Bruins
a little more flexibility.
Call up Caron ($600,000) to be the 12th
Then they would have a
little bit of depth until Campbell and Krejci’s return. After they return:
Waive Caron ($600,000)
to be at around 1.3 million under the cap.
The Bruins would have
had 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, 2 goaltenders after that to start the season.