It has been two weeks since NHL free agency began and most of the top players who were on the market have already been signed, including former Boston Bruin Jarome Iginla, who inked a three year, $16-million contract with the Colorado Avalanche. The Bruins had less significant free agent departures as well, including tough-guy Shawn Thornton and backup goalie Chad Johnson. Despite losing a top-line winger in Iginla and depth guys in Thornton and Johnson, Boston has yet to make any significant NHL roster signings so far this free agency.
The lack of movement made by the Bruins this offseason should come as no surprise considering they are tight up against next year’s salary cap because of bonus overages and some poor contracts. Also, it appears GM Peter Chiarelli was telling the truth when he told reporters the team would not be going “full force” into free agency and would likely not look to make any high-profile deals.
So far, so good Peter.
The Bruins also still have yet to make decisions regarding a number of their restricted free agents. Despite today’s news that they have resigned RFA Matt Bartkowski to a one year deal worth $1.25 million, the Bruins still have to offer contracts to RFA’s Torey Krug, Reilly Smith and to any of the other nine RFA’s on their roster. This will be no easy task however considering the team only has about $4.6 million in cap space. The Bruins will likely need to take care of the Krug and Smith contracts to see how much cap space is left to possibly spend on the free agent market.
Free agency grade: B
Grading the Bruins free agency thus far is tough to do, because frankly, they have yet to really take part in it. The team has not made any big splashes, and they likely will not given the lack of big name free agents remaining on the market. Losing Iginla definitely hurt, but the lack of salary cap space made resigning the veteran virtually impossible, so it is tough to hold his departure against the team. Resigning RFA Bartkowski to a fair one year deal was the best move the team has made so far and if they are able to sign their other key RFA Smith and Krug to good deals, Boston would have done the best they realistically could have in free agency.