BOSTON (CBS) – One year removed from a Stanley Cup Finals appearance and three years removed from having won it all, the Boston Bruins find themselves in a very precarious salary cap situation.
Hamstrung so badly, the team was unable to retain their first line right winger, Jarome Iginla, who signed a three-year $16 million deal to play for Colorado on the first day of free agency.
Now serious questions face general manager Peter Chiarelli as the personnel man must weigh the prospects of trading a key contributor — like defenseman Johnny Boychuk — in order to free up cap room.
But how did we get here?
Fred Toucher and Dan Roche, filling in for the vacationing Rich Shertenlieb, had on CSNNE Bruins insider Joe Haggerty Monday morning to discuss the team’s salary cap situation. According to Haggs, this is commonplace for Cup contenders.
“This is the way of the world in the NHL to some degree. Any team that’s good, that’s won a Cup, likes their players and signs their players that have been good and successful for them, I think eventually gets to this point. After Chicago won their first Cup they definitely got to this point and had to re-configure the composition of the team. I think every team gets to a certain level where you just can’t pay everybody you want to pay.”
For fans and callers into sports talk radio, Chris Kelly is emblematic of this overspending.
“Chris Kelly hasn’t had a good couple of years since he signed that contract and is making $3 million a year as a third line center and is part of the problem. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” said Haggerty.
On Kelly, Haggerty says the Bruins had a window in which they could have bought out his contract, but because of offseason back surgery they cannot buy out an injured player according to league rules.
Haggs says Kelly is part of the problem, but not the problem.
“They couldn’t do anything with him even if they wanted to. Trading him would be difficult because he’s got a no-trade clause and he would have to agree to it. You can look at a guy like that and say he’s part of the problem, but it’s not like he’s the biggest problem that’s killing the Bruins. Even if the Bruins did buy him out that’s only a couple million dollars. That’s not enough to do everything they want to do and sign a legit replacement for Jarome Iginla.”
After some back and forth on line combinations they then asked Haggerty a simple question.
Has Peter Chiarelli been too loyal? In particular, has he been too loyal to his fourth line players?
Listen below to hear Haggs’ answer: