The Blake Wheeler Decision By The Bruins Will Be The First Domino
The Blake Wheeler arbitration decision will come today. So we will find out how much money Wheeler got and if he will be a Boston Bruin for much longer. The Bruins have the option of keeping him, letting him go to free agency, or signing him and then trading him.
The main knock on Wheeler is that he does not use his size. That is not too big of a problem in my opinion because he is still young, he can still learn how to more effectively use his large body. Furthermore, I think he will gain say 15 more pounds and really be able to throw that weight around. In other words he will grow into his body.
This is one big domino because the Boston Bruins have very little cap space. Of course by putting Sturm on the LTIR his cap hit will not count and that will mean Boston should have plenty of space to sign him.
However, if the money is too much the Bruins may get rid of him to be fiscally prudent. Personally I expect him to get $2.4 million per year as he is not as good as Mason Raymond so a bit less is reasonable.
The reason this would be a domino is that the Bruins have been trying very hard to get Tomas Kaberle to pair him up with Zdeno Chara. I can see the attraction, but no cap space means Wheeler can be a big bargaining chip along with Mark Stuart as a starting point. It is interesting but I don't see it happening, especially if the Leafs can get Ryan Clowe.
However if they start offering Wheeler the trade winds can start blowing as they have been quieter than usual this offseason (minus the dismantling of the Stanley Cup Champions). So will they? This becomes a question.
I think it more likely they offer Bergeron to free up the cap space. The reason I mention Bergeron is his cap hit this year is quite large at a bit over $5 million. This would allow them to sign some of the free agents still floating around.
Another reason is that they have a glut of centres but a lack of wing depth, so why deal Wheeler? Makes much more sense to deal the overpaid, underperforming centre for just cap space.
In the end though I expect the Bruins to just stand pat. They will do nothing, just accept the Wheeler arbitration. However once the number comes in the teams will know what to expect for their own arbitration eligible players and will adjust accordingly. This is the main domino that will fall.
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