The Boston Bruins did some cap maneuvering Thursday which just delayed the inevitable.
Earlier I wrote about what it would take in order for the Boston Bruins to activate Charlie McAvoy from Long Term Injury Reserve as the Bruins inched closer to a healthy roster.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, Derek Forbort suffered a broken finger. With his return expected to be about three weeks away, the Bruins were able to delay moving out salary in a deal by placing Forbort on LTIR. It extended their deadline to the point where McAvoy was supposed to return (at least that’s what the Bruins were saying publicly).
So, how did they accomplish their cap compliance?
The first move came by sending Jakub Lauko to Providence which cleared all but $90,874 of his cap hit.
The second move was to waive Mike Reilly. Yes, he had already cleared waivers once, but because he played in 10 games since originally clearing, waivers were required once again. When Reilly cleared, he was sent to Providence. He will still count as $2,033,108 against the cap and the remainder of his $3,000,000 cap hit comes off the books.
Finally, they put Forbort on LTIR, giving the team $2,591,667 in LTIR space. They are using $1,935,595 of that LTIR space as of now and that is the number Bruins cap genius Evan Gold has on his mind.
You see, once Forbort is healthy, it’s that $1.935 million he has to get off the books in order to activate Forbort. Part of that – $660,811 as of today, will be achieved once Jeremy Swayman is healthy and Keith Kincaid is sent back to Providence. That number is reduced for each day Kincaid is on the roster but based on what we’re hearing on a Swayman return, we are looking at $590,000 cleared once that day arrives.
So, we are looking at $1,340,595 that will need to come off the books in about 3 weeks’ time.
The obvious answer is to trade Reilly where left defence is where the Bruins have the depth to spare.
That’s not an easy task to accomplish, and while many, many Bruins fans will be quick to point out that no team has any interest in Reilly because they could have had him for nothing twice (waivers) and no one took him, that is not entirely true.
There is in fact interest in his services, and the waiver neglect is just smart management by other GM’s. You see, why would any team, knowing the Bruins need to clear cap space, do them any favors by taking him for free off the waiver wire when you could force the Bruins to add an asset in order to take his contract on in a trade? That speaks to the teams that aren’t going anywhere any time soon and have cap space to take on other GM’s contracts.
What about those teams that really could use Reilly? It’s the second year remaining on his deal that is holding them back especially with the still uncertain details with regards to the cap. Yes, they could have had him for nothing and then maybe have to give up something next year for nothing? NHL GMs aren’t just thinking about one year so, it might be in their interest not to make a waiver claim and talk about a trade where the Bruins retain some of his cap hit.
The only other option appears to be Craig Smith, who has fallen somewhat in the eyes of Coach Jim Montgomery. His $3,100,000 cap hit would not only be enough to activate Forbort when the time comes but allow the Bruins to now start banking cap space for trade deadline day. A million today is roughly $4.5 million in AAV that can be added on trade deadline.
Then there is the matter of performance bonuses. David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron have already earned $3,500,000 with another million awaiting Krejci and $150,000 for Swayman. They could choose to carry all or part of that into next season as a bonus overage. Or they might just try and clear more space and fit most of that under this year’s cap.
Going to be an interesting couple of weeks to see how the Bruins maneuver this. Hopefully there are no more injuries, and they can just bite the bullet and move forward with the season.
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