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Everything you need to know as free agency begins for the Bruins

Time to go shopping! Or maybe to just stay home.

Ottawa Senators v Boston Bruins - Game Four Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It’s almost July 1! NHL shopping day is just about here.

Teams are going to go nuts. Teams are going to overpay. Teams are going to do absolutely nothing. It’s a true feeding frenzy!

Last year, the Bruins were pretty active, adding the guy who’s photo is at the top of this article.

What will they do this year?

When does NHL free agency begin?

It kicks off tomorrow, July 1, at noon Eastern time. Don’t be surprised if signings start right at 12:01 PM, as teams have already been talking to FA’s for a while.

Who is available to be signed?

Any unrestricted free agent, basically. Check out CapFriendly’s list here.

How can you keep track of the NHL free agent signings?

SBNation’s NHL blog is keeping a running tally here.

What does July 1 look like for the Bruins?

Per CapFriendly, the Bruins have $60,523,335 committed to the cap next season. With the cap set at $75 million, that means they currently have $14,476,665 in free space available.

The players who make up that $60 million and change (i.e. those currently under contract) for the Bruins are:

Bruins Currently Under Contract

Player Position
Player Position
David Krejci C
Patrice Bergeron C
Brad Marchand LW
Matt Beleskey LW
Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson C
Riley Nash C, RW
Frank Vatrano LW
Noel Acciari C
Torey Krug D
Zdeno Chara D
Adam McQuaid D
Kevan Miller D
Charlie McAvoy D
Brandon Carlo D
Tuukka Rask G
Anton Khudobin G

These 17 players listed above represent the NHLers currently under contract. The Bruins have plenty of other guys, like Rob O’Gara, Anders Bjork, Jake DeBrusk, etc., who are “non-roster” players, i.e. AHL guys.

They’re still under contract, but since they weren’t on the NHL roster at season’s end, they don’t count against the cap (yet).

So the Bruins have more than $14 million to spend?! That’s awesome! That table above only features the players currently under contract with the Bruins; this means that all restricted free agents aren’t on there.

The Bruins’ restricted free agents (the guys they’re likely to sign) are:

Bruins Restricted Free Agents

Player Position
Player Position
David Pastrnak RW
Ryan Spooner C
Tim Schaller C
Austin Czarnik C
Zane McIntyre G
Malcolm Subban G

Of those six players, Pastrnak, Spooner and Schaller are considered “roster players.”

The point of all this is to note that no, the Bruins don’t have $14.5 million to spend. They have $14.5 million minus the contracts of Pastrnak, Spooner (maybe) and Schaller.

Oh...can they make more space by buying out Matt Beleskey?

Nope. The second buy-out window ended on June 30 at 5 PM. The Bruins only bought out Jimmy Hayes, meaning they can’t get out from under that Beleskey contract without making a trade.

Welp. So how much space is there actually?

It’s hard to say, as those three contracts are a bit of a mystery.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Pastrnak signs for $6.2 AAV, Schaller gets $1 million and Spooner gets dealt. That drops the cap space from $14.5 million down to something like $7.3 million.

Nice! That’s still a lot of money.

Yes, but...that’s not quite the end of it.

See, that space assumes only the guys above are on the roster. That’s everyone listed on the first table, plus Pastrnak and Schaller.

That’s only 19 players. A full roster is 23, and each team must have a minimum of 20 players (i.e. a full on-ice roster of 12-6-1, plus an extra dude, usually the back-up goalie) on the roster at all times.

Add in a 7th D (Rob O’Gara at $1 million) and Bjork ($1 million), and you’re at 21 players.

That extra $2 million drops the available space down to $5.3 million.

If the Bruins ice a full 23-man roster, i.e. a few healthy scratches, that number drops down around $1 million per guy, as low as $3.75 million.

Alright, enough. It’s nice outside and I want to go enjoy the summer. How much can the Bruins realistically sign someone for?

Again, it’s hard to say, because Pastrnak could get more, Spooner could get re-signed, etc.

Let’s just go with a nice, round number: $4 million.

What could the opening night roster look like, in terms of players and salary, if the Bruins do absolutely nothing tomorrow?

Using CapFriendly’s tool.

bruins opening night roster

(This assumes $6.2 million for Pastrnak, $1 million for Schaller, Spooner is dealt, Czarnik is in the AHL and the Bruins carry a full 23-man roster.)

There you have it. $3.75 million.

Again, this is subject to change: the Bruins don’t have to re-sign Schaller, they don’t have to carry a full 23-man roster, etc.

Their available cap space could be anywhere from $3.75 million to $7 million and change.

Woof. My head hurts. So what should I expect?

It’s possible that the Bruins could make a huge splash, but it’s not all that likely. If I had to guess, they’ll use their available space to sign a veteran defenseman and a depth forward.

Happy July!