Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli must be a firm believer in the old adage “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” The Bruins’ shot caller has made it clear, at the moment, he is not planning on making any significant changes to the Bruins roster this offseason. But should this be his approach?
Not to say the Bruins’ current formula is “broken” by any means, but with the team’s second round exit to hated Montreal Canadiens in last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs there was one glaring problem: a lack of potent offense.
The Bruins grabbed a 3-2 series lead against their archrival but then proceeded to score a meager one goal in the final two games for a disappointing finish to what was a great season, to that point. So obviously an upgrade in offense should be a main focus point for the Bruins, right?
With the Bruins short on funds this offseason — an approximate $7M of cap space — the biggest question surrounding the team is can Chiarelli resign winger Jarome Iginla. The 37-year-old right-winger tied for the team lead in goals scored in the regular season with 30.
Chiarelli is also faced with trying to get Iginla signed without losing its younger crop of stars such as Torey Krug, Reilly Smith and Carl Soderberg. The latter become restricted free agents July 1 if the Bruins do not give them qualifying offers before then.
One possible solution would be to buyout the current contract of Chris Kelly. The 33-year-old center is in year three of his four-year $12M contract, which would save the team $3M in cap space this season. Under the NHL’s new Collective Bargain Agreement each team can make two compliance buyouts during the 2013 and or 2014 offseasons. The Bruins have yet to use either of its two and Chiarelli does not plan on starting now.
“We are not going to make any buyouts at this time,” Chiarelli told members of the media during a conference call Monday. “We are just not going to use any. We are happy with the guys who are under contract with us.”
Some would say using the buyout would be a form of admission of a bad signing, which may also play a factor into Chiarelli’s decision. Hopefully Chiarelli really does believe in all of his signings and is not letting his ego get in the way of the teams success.
“They (buyouts) are an ability to take a mulligan, but at this time we are not going to use any,” Chiarelli added.
Kelly scored a career-high 20 goals for the Bruins in 2011-12 which landed him his current contract. In the first two seasons of his new deal the injury plagued center has lit the lamp just 12 times and added 15 assists in 91 games.
Iginla on the other hand, although fours years older, has registered 12 seasons of at least 30 goals. Iginla is a proven scorer and also proved he can gel with linemates as he did with Milan Lucic and David Krejci last season — the Bruins top line.
Both Chiarelli and Iginla have expressed they want to get a deal done. With the current cap situation, however, the end numbers may not add up. Can Chiarelli perform magic, or will he allow pride to get in his way?
Take the mulligan, Peter.
Travis David is a Boston Bruins contributor for iSportsweb and is a credentialed member of the Boston Bruins media website. Follow him on Twitter @Tdavid_21.