Since their failed bid to defend the Stanley Cup, the Boston Bruins have been tipped for a blockbuster move to add a top goal scorer. Summer trade targets have supposedly included New York Rangers acquisition Rick Nash and Anaheim forwards Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan.
Despite consistent rumors, the Bruins kept quiet throughout the summer. Meanwhile, the New York Rangers forked over three young talents and a first-round draft pick for Nash.
Although the opportunity to wheel and deal will return once the lockout is resolved, it seems the Bruins no longer intend to pursue a big-name forward. Time will tell if GM Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins come to rue the day they refused the Blue Jackets' lofty asking price, but for the moment, their abstention from bidding wars has been wise.
Here are a few reasons the Bruins are better off without the likes of Nash, Perry or Ryan.
The Boston Bruins currently have the least available salary cap space in the entire National Hockey League. According to capgeek.com, Boston has a measly $1,322,024 to work with this season.
Their three trade targets carry the following cap hits in 2012-13:
|Name||Yearly Cap Hit||Years Left|
|Rick Nash||$7,800,000||6 years|
|Corey Perry||$5,325,000||1 years|
|Bobby Ryan||$5,100,000||3 years|
The Bruins are in no place to be accepting big contracts at the moment. Prior to the lockout, the Bruins committed $70.5 million to young stars Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand beginning next season. Otherwise the trio would hit free agency next summer.
Nathan Horton, Andrew Ference and, most importantly, starting goaltender Tuukka Rask could demand big paydays next summer as well.
GM Chiarelli's frantic attempts to maintain the core of his 2011 Stanley Cup Championship squad would make any major move this winter completely reckless.
Although the current cap situation reflects the dead weight of Tim Thomas' movable $5 million hit, it could be disastrous to replace him with a star forward. As the lockout drags on, the future salary cap is tremendously uncertain. With hockey-related revenue likely moving towards a 50-50 split, a downward turn in the salary cap is likely.
Had he not been traded to the Rangers, Nash would have almost certainly been the Bruins' highest paid player until 2018, costing the team its trademark depth. Perry, on the other hand, is due a major raise next June. The 27-year-old has 87 goals in the last two years, and a cash-strapped Bruins team would struggle in competition for his signature.
In chaotic financial times, a conservative approach from the Bruins front office will protect them from suffering under risky, over-priced deals.
After scoring just 15 goals in a seven-game first-round defeat at the hands of the Washington Capitals, the Boston Bruins have been consistently accused of lacking offense.
However, this allegation is decidedly untrue. Although their leading scorer, the 20-year-old Seguin, only lit the lamp 29 times, the Bruins enjoyed the league's most balanced offensive unit.
Boston's playoff collapse was an embarrassment, but it had nothing to do with a lack of talent. Its playoff deep-freeze was in direct contrast to a high-scoring regular season.
Last season, the Bruins finished tied for second in goals-per-game with a superb average of 3.17 nightly tallies. They scored 260 goals in 82 games, equal to Claude Giroux's Philadelphia Flyers and just 13 fewer than the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins.
Though Seguin finished 31 goals behind top-scorer Steven Stamkos, he was supported by five other teammates who mustered at least 20 goals.
The Bruins matched their elite offensive output with top-notch defensive play, allowing them to finish first in the league in goal differential, at plus-67.
Although the Bruins were absent from the list of league goal-scoring leaders, they occupied each of the top-five spots in the plus-minus category.
Their tremendous regular-season success came despite poor campaigns from David Krejci and Lucic, who were expected to produce more than their combined 123 points. If they return to form this season, than the Bruins could become offensive juggernauts.
Another positive omen for Boston fans is that both of the team's top goal-scorers were second-year players. Seguin and Marchand are almost certain to improve over the next few seasons and should lead Boston's offense to new heights.
With an established offensive corps that is both young and deep, why would Chiarelli feel the need to take a major risk to better his squad?
Nash cost the New York Rangers a boat-load of young talent in the form of Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon and a first-round draft pick. The younger and arguably better Perry and Ryan could cost even more.
Before June's NHL Draft, the general consensus among league executives was that the Blue Jackets would demand either Seguin or Dougie Hamilton in any package for Nash, according to ESPN Boston.
Seguin led the Bruins in scoring and projects to be a far better player than Nash for the next decade, he is also a much cheaper option over the length of the six-year extension he recently signed. After 67 points in just his second season, compared to Nash's 59, Seguin is about as untouchable as an asset can be.
Hamilton, on the other hand, is Boston's top prospect and could be an elite offensive-defenseman down the road. After being drafted ninth overall in 2011, Hamilton put up a stellar 72 points in just 50 games for the OHL's Niagara Ice Dogs a year ago. He has refused to let up this season, once again leading the OHL with 29 points in 24 games.
Hamilton will be vital to Boston's future as their defensive corps would otherwise lack top young talent. A favorite to win the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year someday, Hamilton is significantly more valuable to the Bruins than Nash, Perry or Ryan could possibly be.
Other names floated in the rumors include Rask, Krejci and Lucic. Rask is no longer expendable in the wake of Thomas' unexpected sabbatical, leaving Krejci and Lucic as the Bruins top available assets.
Krejci could very well be dealt this season after a disappointing year. The Bruins current logjam at center leaves little room for the under-performing Krejci. However, despite the Bruins willingness to move Krejci, his market value is a major question mark.The same can be said for Lucic, who seemed to lose his edge last season.
It is unlikely that Krejci and Lucic could satisfy the outrageous demands of many GM's. As a result, the Bruins simply cannot afford the monumental cost of a top scorer, especially considering the lack of value offered in return.