We are less than 24 hours away from the start of free agency frenzy, and as always, things promise to be busy. To keep everyone up to speed on things, here’s an outlook on things to come.
Buyout period ends Monday
Carried over from last year’s CBA, teams have until 5 pm on Monday to exercise their buyout option, if they choose to go that route. Many teams have taken advantage of that, including the Buffalo Sabres, who bought out Christian Ehrhoff on Sunday and Villie Leino a few weeks ago.
The Bruins, however, may not be using their buyouts as Peter Chiarelli alluded to in a conference call with reporters last week. Two prime candidates for buyouts, Chris Kelly and Adam McQuaid, both suffered injuries that caused them to miss the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs and are pretty much exempt from the clause. Unless Chiarelli decides to buy out Gregory Campbell – another potential candidate who has one year left on his contract at $1.6 million – Chiarelli and company will have their hands full at the start of the frenzy.
Jarome Iginla watch
There’s no secret that Jarome Iginla fits the Bruins mold as seen by his 30-goal season in 2013-14. It’s a reason why he wants to return. The Black and Gold have made re-signing Iginla their No. 1 priority.
There’s one problem, though. Given that their in cap hell – thanks in part to the bonus overages carried by Iginla’s $4.2 million performance bonus last year – there’s a chance that the former longtime captain of the Calgary Flames goes elsewhere to pursue his dream of hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time in his illustrious career. The Red Wings, Wild and Lightning are among the teams who are interested in Iggy’s services according to NESN.com.
Although Iginla is looking for a two-year deal, it’s also reported that he would sign for one year to return with the Black and Gold. That has to be a bit of a relief for Chiarelli as he continues to negotiate with Iggy’s agent, Don Meehan.
Jarome Iginla is looking at a 2 year deal. The only team he would accept to go for 1 season is Boston. #tvasports
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) June 30, 2014
A young trio of RFAs
All eyes will be on the Iginla watch these next 24 hours (or more), but The Hub of Hockey shouldn’t forget about a trio of restricted free agents, either. Torey Krug, Reilly Smith and Matt Bartkowski are three of the notable RFAs that should receive a qualifying offer from Chiarelli this off-season. Don’t expect multi-year deals for either Krug, Smith or Bartkowski, but expect at least Krug and Smith to return in 2014-15, while Bartkowski could be a trade chip.
As far as some other potential guys on the block, I don’t expect Brad Marchand or Johnny Boychuk to be dealt. But then again, there’s a reason why I write for Bruins Daily and am not a general manager in the National Hockey League.
Other free agents to watch
Despite a roller coaster ride with three teams last year, Thomas Vanek should be one of the few coveted unrestricted free agents that should get a decent payday. The Wild are rumored to be the frontrunners for the services of the “Bruins Killer”, which would good news for B’s fans as they will only see him twice a year.
Other coveted UFAs in a less than stellar field of players include Iginla, Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen and Avalanche forward Paul Stastny. Despite the lack of star power out there, it’s safe to assume that teams will be busy on Tuesday as they look to improve their chances of hoisting the Stanley Cup next June.