It’s one busy time of the offseason for the Boston Bruins. General Manager Don Sweeney has been extended. After an extensive and lengthy search for a new head coach, Sweeney settled on Jim Montgomery. The sense is that Captain Patrice Bergeron is set to put pen to paper on a bonus laden deal that will bring the captain back for the 2022-2023 season.
Off the ice, there are still decisions to be made. Montgomery has decisions to make about his coaching staff. First, he needs a replacement for the departed Kevin Dean. They also need a replacement for Kim Brandvold who left the organization as Skating and Skills coach to become an assistant coach with Boston University. And of course, Montgomery still has to make decisions on assistants Chris Kelly and Joe Sacco although my feeling is both will be retained.
We are in the buyout window and it doesn’t appear to be an option for the Bruins to use a buyout. Sweeney said during a press conference in early June when asked about whether it is an option: “Not today, I don’t. Not while I sit here today. It could change, but no [buyout plans].”
There is an overused phrase on social media that goes like this: “Ownership is too cheap to use a buyout.”
The fact is, that if it is the best thing for the Bruins, ownership has been solidly behind it. Since 2006, the Bruins have used seven buyouts. Can you find more then a few teams that have used more? CapFriendly makes it easy for you to research.
The name that keeps popping up most among Bruins fans for a buyout is Nick Foligno. Here’s why it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense: Foligno has one season remaining with a $3.8 million cap hit. A buyout would still cost $1,933,334 dollars towards the cap for 2022-2023 and $933,334 towards 2023-2024 when you also have potential bonus carryovers from a Bergeron deal. (And possibly David Krejci, but more on that later).
But you need a replacement for Foligno, correct? Even if you fill that role with a cheap contract of $800,000, when you add Foligno’s cap hit it is really costing you $2,733,334. That’s a savings towards the cap of $1,066,666. On the other hand, simply waiving him and sending him to Providence saves $1,075,000 minus his replacement. At best, the difference between a buyout and burying Foligno is about $750,000. Is that really the best cap management when you have to carry it over to the following season and you have to re-up David Pastrnak?
Speaking of Pastrnak, there are rumors flying about social media about his unhappiness in Boston and Bruins fans are asking to sign him now or trade him. The fact of the matter is that the Bruins can’t enter contract negotiations with Pastrnak’s camp until July 13th. The CBA states that a player on a one-year deal and is set to become an unrestricted free agent can sign a new deal at any time. But a player coming off a multi-year deal must wait until July 1 (July 13 this year). But they will soon be tackling that issue as well.
In the meantime, the Bruins are in meetings regarding the draft that will take place July 7 & 8 in Montreal. I intend to do a pre-draft piece on potential targets for the Bruins as well as an in-depth article on the Bruins choices following the draft.
Immediately following the draft is development camp and the Bruins will be looking at undrafted free agents that they can invite to camp to have a solid look at. They really do need to find players at every position to strengthen the depth at the Providence level and possibly future NHL’ers.
That leads us right into free agency on July 13. If the Bruins are going to be active, then they are going to have to move out some salary. Everyone looks to the Arizona Coyotes as the team to have on speed dial to talk salary dump. I’m keeping my eye on the Ottawa Senators. They have $23 million in cap space and with the possibility of a sale of the franchise very high, one year expiring contracts are attractive to them.
Finally, on Krejci: Like Bergeron, it is going to have to be a bonus filled contract-and those bonuses would be easily attainable much like the Bruins have done in the past with Zdeno Chara and Jaro Halak. So, it becomes a balancing act with the cap for 2023-2024. But the Krejci situation is something the Bruins have to look at seriously.
You can bet your mortgage that there have been conversations and those conversations have reached the highest level. But the decision to return will be solely up to Krejci. If he choses to return, I can’t fathom it being with another organization. For the Bruins, it’s all about making the numbers work.
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