Shortly before Thanksgiving, the Boston Bruins re-signed forwards Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner to multiple-year deals.
The Bruins extended Coyle to a six-year deal worth $5.25 million per season while inking Wagner to a three-year contract worth $1.3 million per campaign. Where does this leave them ahead of the 2020 offseason conundrum?
As it looks right now, the Bruins will have 15 signed players on their roster. Those skaters will leave the Bruins with less than $18 million of the salary cap space, $17.758 million to be precise.
Who will be free agents? Many of the Bruins players will find themselves in such category in the upcoming July. From the restricted free agents’ pool, it will be Karson Kuhlman, Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Matt Grzelcyk, Brett Ritchie. Also, take in the note, restricted free agents in Providence such as Jakub Zboril, Peter Cehlarik, or Jeremy Lauzon.
The bigger problem for the Bruins General Manager will be unrestricted free agents. Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, Jaroslav Halak, Joakim Nordstrom, and Kevan Miller.
It´s easy to see the Bruins letting players like Miller or Ritchie just walking away. Then, players like Zboril, Lauzon, Cehlarik, or Kuhlman, can be signed to two-way deals and start the 2020-21 season in Providence. That´s not going to harm the Bruins’ chances when considering re-signing Krug, Halak, or DeBrusk.
But let´s analyze it player by player. Krug will demand at least $8 million per season on a multi-year deal. That would leave the Bruins with $10 million of the salary cap space, at best. What is DeBrusk going to cost? Probably not a fortune, but he will definitely want more than, for example, what Danton Heinen signed for last summer (two years, $2.8 million per season). If DeBrusk signed at a range between three and four million, it would leave the Bruins with $6 million of the salary-cap space, at best.
Let´s assume Chara will sign for another year and yet another deal worth $2 million per campaign. Grzelcyk will also need a new contract, that will also cost them at least $2 million, if not something closer to $3 million per season.
The signings of Krug, Chara, DeBrusk, and Grzelcyk, would be the ones with the highest priority. The Bruins would have approximately $2 million of the cap space, at best. They would still need to re-sign Bjork (arbitration rights), as they won´t lure him to the AHL deal, and to sign a backup goaltender. Potentially, Halak becomes way too costly for the Bruins.
Update with some down time available. A Thanksgiving miracle. pic.twitter.com/CTptp0Zkts
— LTIR$0=BruinsCapspace (@bruinscapspace) November 28, 2019
Nevertheless, it seems as if the Bruins had just enough salary cap space to do all the necessary housekeeping ahead of July 1 next year. Shedding at least the part of the salary of David Backes would help considerably. The NHL is not believed to lift the salary cap from $81.5 million (Projection from BruinsCapspace counts with the cap space heading up by two million). However, they may change their mind eventually, as well. The Bruins would be first in the line to tip the cap to that decision.