After a disappointing season ended in the second round of the playoffs, the Boston Bruins set their eyes on the offseason and some difficult roster decisions they would have to make. The biggest and most difficult decision to make was bringing back forward Jarome Iginla. After Iginla fit perfectly on the first line with the Bruins in his first year with the team, Boston certainly wanted to bring the veteran back for another season. There was a huge roadblock between the two sides coming to an agreement however, the salary cap. The Bruins have over $67 million already dedicated to their returning roster and that left little wiggle room for the team to fit in a deal with Iginla. Ultimately, the Bruins inability to offer Iginla a representative deal made his decision to leave Boston an easy one.
It is hard to imagine Iginla having a more successful season with the Bruins in his first season with the team. He finished tied for the team lead in goals with 30 and added 31 assists in 78 games with the Bruins. Iginla’s success was due in large part to his ability to fit in seamlessly with his first line teammates, David Krejci and Milan Lucic. His physical presence in front of and around the net fit in great with how Lucic plays. He also produced in the postseason for the Bruins, scoring a team-high five goals in the team’s 12 playoff games.
The Bruins will also surely miss the veteran’s presence off the ice. By all accounts from the front office and his fellow teammates, Iginla was a great player to have in the locker room. It should have came as no surprise how well the 37-year-old fit in with the group of veteran players the Bruins already have. As the captain of the Calgary Flames for nearly a decade, Iginla knew how to conduct himself both on and off the ice to gain the respect of his teammates.
Although the Bruins have in house options like Loui Eriksson to replace Iginla on the first line, it will be tough to find a player that complimented Lucic and Krejci as well as Iginla was able to do last season. While the Bruins would have happily brought Iginla back to help them try to recapture the Stanley Cup, there was just not enough cap space to bring him back. After losing out on Iginla, the Bruins will need to regroup and see if there are any veteran free agents that would be willing to sign a similar deal to the one Iginla agreed to last season. The team’s lack of cap flexibility however makes it more likely they will need to either use younger players from within their organization, or find a trade partner that would be willing to take on some of Boston’s undesireable contracts. One thing is certain though, losing out on Iginla will be just the first of many storylines for the Bruins this offseason.