A report out of James Mirtle’s venture, The Athletic, indicates that there could be quite a salary cap bump announced in the coming days.
That report is summarized on SBN’s NHL page, but the gist of it is this: Mirtle expects the salary cap to rise to $75 million for next season, but indicates that it could rise as high as $77.5 million depending on what the NHLPA’s executive board decides to do.
The board will be able to decide what to do with escrow and their escalator clause. It’s a lot of complicated CBA speak that few people truly understand, but the bottom line is this: there’s a decent chance the cap goes up to $77.5 million next season.
Whoop-dee-do, what does it all mean, Basil?
Well, it means that the Bruins would have a lot more space to make some moves this offseason!
Currently, the Bruins have $62.5 million committed against the cap next season, per Cap Friendly.
That number includes nine forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies. It doesn’t include UFAs Dominic Moore and Drew Stafford. It also doesn’t include RFAs Ryan Spooner (might be back), Tim Schaller (might be back), Noel Acciari (will be back) and, of course, David Pastrnak (will be back).
Assume the UFAs are gone. Sorry, Dominic Moore. You were great, but the Bruins have youngsters that need spots.
For RFAs, let’s assume Ryan Spooner gets traded, Tim Schaller gets a better deal elsewhere and Acciari signs for around $1 million a year, a fair number for a fourth-liner.
Pencil in guys like Anders Bjork, Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk. That’s around $3 million. The Bruins will lose someone too. It might be Adam McQuaid (take out $2.75 million), or Jimmy Hayes (-$2.3 million), or Colin Miller (-$1 million).
Take that $4 million for Acciari and three kids, and you end up sitting around $67 million (give or take a million).
That leaves the Bruins with at least $8 million, and possibly more than $10 million, in cap space to play with.
What should the Bruins do with their cap space?
- Lock David Pastrnak up. Now. No bridge deal. Just give the kid a long-term deal so we can all enjoy the Czech antics for years to come. Hopefully $5.5-6.5 million per year gets it done.
- Look into adding a different back-up goalie. Anton Khudobin is on the books for next year, but could be bought out or waived. It didn’t work out for him last season, and it hurt the team. If the Bruins have space to play with, it’s worth looking into a serious upgrade while letting Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban (if he’s not in Vegas) develop.
- Look for a depth veteran. The Bruins ALWAYS have a depth veteran. It could turn out that the DV was a Claude Julien thing, and that Dealin’ Don is ready to go all-youth on the fourth line. However, there could be serviceable guys available for cheap: think Dominic Moore types. They’re good for leadership and for mentoring the kids.
What should the Bruins NOT do with their cap space?
- Sign a big-name defenseman. No, the Bruins shouldn’t sign Kevin Shattenkirk. No, the Bruins shouldn’t sign Dan Girardi. Nope nope nope. Develop your young defensemen and leave the big-ticket blueliners out there for the Rangers, Capitals and others to overpay.
- Sign any big-name player. No Jarome Iginla. No Patrick Sharp. No Patrick Marleau. Not worth it.
- Buy anyone out. It’s not worth it. Jimmy Hayes hasn’t worked out. Full stop. But his cap hit will be off the books after this year. Buying him out spreads the cash out even more. Same for Matt Beleskey. Let it be. See if you can increase their value and then make a deal. Buy outs are rarely a good idea (the Bruins are still playing Dennis Seidenberg...for the next three years).
What should the Bruins MAYBE do with their cap space?
- OK, I’ll add a caveat to the second bullet above: Ty Anderson of WEEI.com has talked me into bringing Joe Thornton back to Boston. What can I say, I’m a sucker for sentiment.
What do you think? If the Bruins end up having $6-7 million in cap space after locking up Pastrnak, what should they do?