Here is just a quick capsule of what GM Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins will be dealing with once the free agency period opens on Wednesday:
Pending UFAs: P.J. Axelsson, Mark Recchi, Stephane Yelle, Shane Hnidy, Steve Montador, Manny Fernandez, Martin St. Pierre, Johnny Boychuk, Jeremy Reich, and Ryan Stokes.
Pending RFAs: Phil Kessel, Matt Hunwick, Byron Bitz, Kevin Regan, Carl Soderberg, Wacey Rabbit (B's did not extend qualify offer), and Ned Lukacevic (B's did not extend qualify offer).
Salary Cap Space: Approx. $6.8 million
Projected 2009-2010 Salary Cap: $56.8-million
Key needs: The Bruins' first priority is to re-sign Phil Kessel or to get a puck-moving defenseman (depending on who you ask). I am part of the second camp in case you were wondering. After that I think the Bruins next priority is to re-sign Matt Hunwick and Byron Bitz.
Potential Targets: Due to the current cap situation, I don't think that the Bruins will be involved in the free agent market much besides trying to keep some of their own free agents. However, if the Bruins don't resign Kessel or trade him, they might look at the free agent market for a puck-moving blue-liner or a depth winger.
What our rivals want: I don't really care what the Habs do, but all the SBN Hockey sites are using this same format. The Canadiens have hardly anyone under contract for next year. They will probably sign a bunch of mediocre players from Quebec to appease their narrow-sighted fans and fill out their roster.