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I know this is going to be sacrilege to fans of the Boston Bruins, and maybe I am a little off base here. After all, Peter Chiarelli didn't run his plan by me before executing it.
From the outside looking in however, after the signing spree over the summer that saw the B's lock up Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin to pre-lockout extensions, the Bruins would be in dire straits if the cap sank even a few million.
Logic maintains that the Bruins wouldn't deal any of the forwards they bothered to lock up this offseason, but logic hasn't exactly been the driving force in the front offices of NHL teams lately. So lets break it down subjectively.
Before signing this trio of forwards, Boston already had David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Marc Savard, Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly, Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, and Dennis Seidenberg all locked into deals with no movement clauses or no trade clauses of some kind.
Obviously, having nine of your 22 roster players with NMC or NTC deals can really limit what you can do as a GM to shake salary.
Which, odds are, is something the Bruins are going to have to do.
So scratch Savard from the ledger because of his place on the long-term IR. Horton is apparently ready to go, so his money sticks.
That means that if the cap takes only a $5 million dive, the Bruins could move a bottom-six forward or fifth or sixth blueliner to get out of trouble. If it goes down $10 million or more, there could be a few changes brewing in Boston.
The buyouts that it would take to close that gap would gut the depth of the team. The most likely solution might be to deal one of these two recently signed guys—who just so happened to get no form of movement control whatsoever.
Dealing Lucic or Marchand seems way more likely to me than moving Seguin, as he'll be arguably the best forward on this team for another decade. Because he's awesome.
So before defending them and saying the Bruins would never do such a thing, imagine what a guy like Lucic could bring in via the trade market. It's hard to speculate exactly what kind of offers could come, but needless to say it wouldn't be slim pickings.
Think of what Ryan Getzlaf could have been traded for before his off-season, and that's the kind of market I think there would be for Lucic.
Of course one also needs to take into consideration that the hulking forward is the epitome of what the Bruins wants their forwards to be, so maybe it is a crazy thought after all. But this isn't a hockey sense move. This may all come down to dollars and cents.
Will they stay or will they go?
I think Boston would move mountains to keep this young core together, but something might have to give somewhere. I think moving Marchand and players like Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton would be the preferred route in Boston if they need to shave dollars.
Also worth considering is that Tim Thomas and his $5 million will come off the books at the end of the season, but Tuukka Rask will become a UFA at the same time, so I consider that money more or less a wash.
Regardless of what you think about my speculation, one thing is clear: they are going to have to get very clever in Boston, very soon.