Trade deadline has come and gone. Hampus Lindholm was brought in and signed to an eight-year contract extension. The still un-traded Jake DeBrusk signed a two-year extension valued at $8 million.
Before we break down the Bruins cap situation, lets have a look at the work ahead for General Manager Don Sweeney and Assistant General Manager and cap guru Evan Gold.
Here are a list of Bruins unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents the Bruins will need to make a decision on in the offseason.
Obviously, the pressing need is Patrice Bergeron. If Bergeron wishes to return for the 2022-2023 season, he’ll likely get to name his own price and knowing Bergeron, he will think of the team before himself. He’s not going to come in and play for 1 or 2 million dollars as was suggested to me yesterday, and he’s not going to be cheap as he is still the premier defensive forward in the League. His asking price is anyone’s guess.
Along with Bergeron, Jack Ahcan, Jakub Zboril, Oskar Steen and Jack Studnicka are guaranteed to get contract offers from the Bruins.
There are also some prospects that may be getting deals, but as entry level contracts, they will be two-way contracts and won’t affect the cap in the offseason (more on that later). Here is a list of those players:
Lindholm’s contract kicks in next season as well as the new contract to Charlie McAvoy and the previously mentioned DeBrusk. Before we move onto the cap situation a coupe of things to note: A) All one-way contracts count towards the cap in the offseason – this is why you see Chris Wagner on the roster. B) any two-way contracts that played in the NHL this season will count in the offseason for the amount of time they were in the NHL this season.
The League allows teams to go over in the offseason by 10% of the cap to compensate for these two things, but they must be cap compliant by day one of the 2022-2023 season.
Complicated? You bet it is so I am not going to throw all those numbers at you, and instead, move ahead to opening night next season to see where they are at.
Ideally, moving Wagner would be the best option but they could once again “bury” his contract and save $1,125,000 towards the cap. Is it enough to get Bergeron inked? In his case, they could do an easily attainable bonuses contract where they could have them as a bonus overage for the 2023-2024 season if they feel they need the cap space for next season because he would be a 35+ contract.
They will also need to consider that neither Studnicka and Steen are waiver exempt next season.
And of course, there is the ongoing DeBrusk trade request. While that would take his $4,000,000 cap hit off the books, you still have to replace him and what will that player cost?
There is obviously some maneuvering to be done, but the Bruins will figure it out.