In a summary of today’s hockey news, Matt Porter of the Boston Globe spoke, among other things, about the Boston Bruins’ looming salary crisis and speculated on what the organization could do to improve their situation (Link). All in all, Porter even says that Brad Marchand is scheduled to miss post surgery on both hips and presumably land him on LTIR early in the season, and with Patrice Bergeron either not returning or perhaps taking a deep discount, Boston could still be up against the salary cap next season, not even considering the steps the team needs to take to improve.
Currently, the Bruins are forecast to have just $2.84 million in salary caps next season, which doesn’t account for any changes or the creation of additional space, such as: B. To put Marchand on LTIR. While not above the cap, if Boston wants to improve or even bring the same quality team back onto the ice, they’ll have to spend money to do it but get creative with how they’re making their paychecks. One of Porter’s proposals is to buy out the forward contract Nick Foligno, who has one year left on his contract at $3.8 million. This would reduce the cap hit to just $1.933 million next season and $930,000 thereafter. Foligno was a reliable point producer and excellent leader throughout his career, but his performance declined sharply this season with Boston, recording just two goals and 11 assists in 64 games.
Still a tremendous veteran for any team, his $3.8 million cap hit is hard to justify on a team as close to the ceiling as Boston. If the organization wants to eliminate its entire cap hit, they will likely find a market to trade it for. However, the veteran will have a 16-team no-trade list, and trading him would likely require the Bruins to send a draft pick or prospect to level with him. It may seem unlikely that Foligno would accept a swap from a long-time favorite to a rebuild team, but a team on the market absorbing Foligno’s salary could likely give him the Ice Age and role he might prefer as well as the chance, anyway being dealt to a competitive team at the close of trading.
Another suggestion from Porter would be to swap a regular, albeit interchangeable, player like the forward CraigSmith or defender Matt Grzelcyk or Mike Reilly. Smith, who has a year left at $3.1 million, has made a solid contribution for Boston since moving to freelance from the Nashville Predators ahead of the 2020-21 season and is solid in 74 games this season Has scored 16 goals and 20 assists. With his solid game and reasonable cap hit, Boston should be able to find a partner for a Smith trade and even get an asset in return. The Bruins could then replace Smith internally with young options like Fabian Lysel, Oscar Steinor Jack Studnickaas Porter suggests.
As good as Reilly and Grzelcyk have been for the Bruins, Porter adds that they are very similar players, potentially making you expendable in the right situation. Both players have two more years of contract left, Reilly on a $3m cap hit and Grzelcyk on just under $3.69m. Not only do the two share a very similar playstyle, but they also have remarkably similar performance. Both have 44 points in the last two seasons, Grzelcyk in 110 games, Reilly in 125. The team also has left flank Derek Forbort under contract for next season for $3 million, though he’s not as remarkably similar to Grzelcyk and Reilly as they are to each other. Trading with any of the three would also pose no threat to Boston’s depth as they also have the recently acquired and expanded Hampus Lindholm and 25 years old Jakub Zborilstill awaiting his first job as an NHL regular.
Finally, a seemingly obvious solution for Boston would be to trade forward Jake DeBrusk, which is capped at $4m through 2023-24 and most notably asked for a trade earlier this season (link). After requesting the trade, DeBrusk continued to play hard and good for Boston, eventually finishing the season with 25 goals and 17 assists in 77 games. Careerwise, DeBrusk has consistently produced similar numbers outside of a poor 2020-21 season, and at the age of 26 for most of the next season, his contract represents solid value for any team that has him. Trading DeBrusk might seem like a no-brainer, but if the winger may have changed his mind or is ready to play out the rest of his contract, keeping him may be a prudent decision for Boston given his value. Although DeBrusk has the highest cap hit of any player reviewed, ultimately hitting the salary cap is less important than the overall value the team receives from the deal when trying to build a competitive team below the salary cap.