With Tuukka Rask inking a contract with the Bruins, I have been flooded with questions about how that has affected the Bruins cap situation. There’s a lot of information out there saying it’s not good, but yours truly says it is. First and foremost, you have to understand the numbers you are looking at and there has to be some context to it. I will do my best to explain it and even provide some charts. So, grab a cold one, sit back (better get a Tylenol too) and try and make sense of it all!!
First off, signing Rask has had little affect on the cap. His cap hit for the remainder of the season is $540,000. But to fit Rask under the 23-man roster limit, the Bruins had to send Jeremy Swayman to Providence of the AHL. Swayman’s AAV is $925,000. But he has only spent 92 days on the NHL roster therefore his cap hit to the Bruins as of today is just $425,500 which is a savings of $499,500 ($925,000 – $425,500 = $499,500). In the end, Rask is costing the Bruins cap $40,500 more than Swayman ($540,000 – $499,500 = $40,500). That affects trade deadline cap space by just under $240,000. (I won’t bore you with the calculation to that number as it is complicated).
So, let’s take a look at the cap situation as the Bruins entered their January 12 matchup against the Montreal Canadiens.
What is hurting the cap number is those blue colored squares: Injuries to Nick Foligno, Trent Frederic, Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton and the one grey square for Jakub Zboril. Because Zboril is on Injured Reserve, the Bruins are allowed a 24-man roster. As you can see, they are currently carrying 27 on the roster.
Now, obviously this does not look good. The Bruins have just $8,476 in projected cap space (cap space at the end of the season if the roster remains unchanged). That translates to just $42,380 in trade deadline space (again, I won’t bore you with that calculation).
Now for some context:
Foligno, Frederic, Forbort and Clifton will be back sooner rather than later and that means they have to get back to a 24-man roster. It’s almost a certainty that Lewington will be headed to Providence. John Moore and Urho Vaakanainen are the two “likeliest” headed back. The Bruins would need a seventh defenceman.
What’s the effect? Have a look with the 24-man roster:
As you can see, the projected cap (if it remains unchanged until the end of the season) jumps to $1,367,070 which would give the Bruins $6,835,350 for trade deadline.
*Note: Trade deadline space is the total AAV that can be added at trade deadline and be cap compliant. It is NOT a pro-rated cap hit that can be added. For example, the Bruins could add a David Pastrnak AAV of $6,666,667 and be cap compliant but they could not add a Patrice Bergeron AAV of $6,875,000 as that would put them over the cap.
As for the seventh defenceman, there are a few different options for the Bruins. The first option is they could just call up a defenceman on game nights (providing they have the roster flexibility) and this wouldn’t eat as much cap space as it would if the player were on the roster for the remainder of the season. If this were the case, you would see the cap numbers change on game days versus non game days because the cap is calculated daily.
The second option if they wanted to carry seven defencemen would be to send Oskar Steen, who doesn’t require waivers to Providence. And the final option is to waive Karson Kuhlman or Anton Blidh to open up a roster spot. Any of these moves would reduce the Bruins available cap space because whether it’s Moore or Vaakanainen as the seventh d-man, they both earn more than Kuhlman and Blidh.
CapFriendly is a great resource and one I use daily to look at other team’s cap situations. But in all honesty, you can’t just go to their website and look at the dollar amount, you have to dissect it a little bit because it changes that often and that much.
One thing that needs to be mentioned is the Jake DeBrusk situation. I don’t know which way the Bruins are leaning, but whatever happens there could greatly improve the Bruins cap situation (which isn’t bad at all especially compared to the other playoff teams) or it could hinder them. Only time will tell.
I hope this helps you out just a little bit. You can always follow me on Twitter @dominictiano