If numbers aren’t your thing, or the complex method used to calculate the National Hockey League’s salary cap sends you running faster than Ben Johnson on steroids, then stop right here. This isn’t something for the faint at heart.
If you really want to know just how complicated and dire it is for the Boston Bruins, then minimize that photo of Kate Upton on your computer and read on.
Back in December, Bill Daly announced that the cap could reach $71 million. Since then, the drop in the Canadian dollar has dropped that amount. Yours truly estimates it to be anywhere from $68.8 million to $70.2 million. Of course, a New York Rangers and LA Kings final will help that a little, especially if it goes to seven games.
For our calculations, we’ll use my low estimate of $68.8 million. The formula is the same, so you can calculate it with any number you wish.
First and foremost, the Bruins will be charged the amount they were over because of the bonus cushion during the 2013-2014 season. As of now, that bonus amount is $3.7 million – the bonuses earned by Jarome Iginla. Defenseman Tory Krug is still eligible to receive $212,500 of his bonuses but that will not be known until the end of June. That leaves the Bruins new upper limit at $65.1 million.
The Bruins can and will put Marc Savard on long term injury reserve (LTIR) on the first day of the season. Most fans believe that the Bruins can exceed the cap by Savard’s $4,027,143 salary. That’s not entirely correct. Here’s where it starts to get complicated.
The CBA states that cap space must be used before using LTIR. In laymen’s terms: If the Bruins had $1 million in space of their $65.1 million ceiling then that would have to be used first reducing the LTIR space to $3,027143. If they had $500,000 in space then the LTIR availability is reduced to $3,527,143. It is in their best possible interest to be as close to their $65.1 million upper limit as possible.
Based on last season’s final roster, the Bruins have 10 forwards, 6 defensemen and 1 goaltender signed for a total cap hit of $61,979,644, leaving them cap space of $3,120,356 to sign a goaltender, a defenseman and 3 forwards (if they choose to carry 7 defensemen and 13 forwards). Assuming they are at the upper limit when they place Savard on LTIR, that leaves them space of $7,147,499 to sign those players.
Not complicated enough yet? Run to the fridge and crack open an ice cold beer – we’re about to get there.
During the offseason, the Bruins can exceed the cap by 10% or $6.51 million in their case, but must become cap compliant on day one, even before the can place Savard on LTIR.
There are several ways they can do this, but I must make it clear that these are just possibilities and not something heard through the grapevine that they are planning to do.
They could send players down to Providence of the AHL to get under the cap and then place Savard on LTIR on day one as they did with Krug and Dougie Hamilton in a paper transaction at the beginning of last season. The problem here is that Hamilton is the only player eligible to be sent down without having to clear waivers and thus are at risk of losing anyone else that may be claimed.
Another option would be how they deal with Krug and Reilly Smith, both restricted free agents. The Bruins could come to an agreement with one or both and not sign and register the contract with the league until the first day of the season. The idea here is to be as close to the cap as possible on day one, place Savard on LTIR and then use that space to sign one or both. Admittedly however, that wouldn’t be enough space to sign both unless they really took a discount. There’s a risk here as well. Another team could come in with an offer sheet the player can’t refuse and thus be forced to match or take the compensation for letting him sign with that club.
Then there is the Jarome Iginla contract situation. Ideally they sign him for league minimum with huge bonuses as they did last season so that they can defer those bonuses to 2015-2016 where the cap should be high enough and they won’t have to deal with this situation for yet another year. If an Iginla deal can’t be worked out, then a 35+ deal (a player 35 years of age or older) for another player is possible for the same type of deal.
Of course, they could simply move salary out in a trade or multiple trades. Rumors have already begun and will continue to be throughout the off-season. The fear here is that the Bruins cap situation is well known throughout the league and no general manager is going to be doing the Bruins any favors. Thus, they will not get full value for any salaries they try and move out unless you are talking a Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron or Milan Lucic.
And finally, the last option, one I don’t think they will use: the dreaded compliance buyout. The Bruins have both compliance buyouts still available at their disposal. Players that are eligible for compliance buyouts are: David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Loui Eriksson, Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, Zdeno Chara, and Johnny Boychuk.
Now you know the situation. You may not understand it, but you know it. You can begin your speculations now.
Enjoy your summer !