Chiarelli, Bruins Working to Re-Sign Jarome Iginla
PHILADELPHIA - The Bruins want to sign Jarome Iginla, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. As Iginla said during his final media availability of the 2013-14 season, he hopes to remain a Bruin as well.
"This is not about what Iggy wants and what he should do and what morally he should do. This is nothing about that. This is, can we find room to fit him in? And that's what it's about," said General Manager Peter Chiarelli, addressing media from the team's hotel in Philadelphia on Friday prior to the NHL Draft.
Chiarelli met with Iginla's agent, Don Meehan, on Thursday night in Philly.
"This shopping period is the shopping period, so that doesn't surprise me that he's talking to other teams," said Chiarelli, when asked about reports that Iginla's agent was speaking with other clubs in addition to Boston.
"But as I've said, this a guy we want to try and sign. But we'll see how that goes."
While the salary cap for the 2014-15 season has yet to be announced, it's estimated to be around $70 million. The Bruins are at roughly $67 million with their current roster, according to CapGeek.com. That includes the estimated $4.75 million in bonus overages incurred this season that will carry over into Boston's 2013-14 cap hit. With Marc Savard placed on long-term injured reserve, that allows the Bruins about just over $7 million in cap space.
Chiarelli has said that, as a result, the club is going to have to make harder decisions this year and be a little more restrictive - and that's something that they're prepared to do.
The Bruins may have to be willing to make changes to keep Iginla.
"I wouldn't call them painful [changes], but there's players that you don't like trading, so I guess maybe there's some pain involved in that," said Chiarelli.
These tough decisions wouldn't necessarily have to be made at the draft, though (Chiarelli said he doesn't anticipate making a big trade this weekend), or even the week of July 1. Looking ahead, the Bruins are comfortable with their options, with or without Iginla.
"In a broad sense, I feel good [about the team]," said Chiarelli. "With Jarome, or that type of player, it would obviously be better."
"But, you know, we've got some players that are going to come up and they're going to bubble up and I always like that energy and enthusiasm these guys bring. So I feel good. Our younger guys are getting better and we're still in a real good spot as far as contending."
"Because, if we can't do anything from July 1-July 5, that doesn't mean we're not going to do anything. I mean, everyone tries to jam this stuff into this weekend, and it usually never happens. So you've just got to be patient, you've got to pick away at this stuff, as far as team-building."
"So, it may happen July 5, we may try and do something [in] September, we may try something [in] November, so we're always trying to improve our team. I know I always say that, but we actually are and we've got alternatives that are good hedges if we don't get something done right away."
Iginla would continue to be an asset to the team. The 17-year vet put up a 30-goal season in 2013-14 with 61 points, developing chemistry with linemates Milan Lucic and David Krejci, while also helping them achieve arguably their most consistent seasons in the Spoked-B. He made everyone around him better. He also dropped the gloves five times.
The forward, who turns 37 on July 1, fit in seamlessly with the Bruins, joining an already strong leadership group. His desire is still strong as he continues to strive for his first Stanley Cup.
"I love playing here, I love playing with this group of guys - I think the group of guys have a great chance to compete again next year for a Stanley Cup, to keep getting better with the young guys that we have," Iginla said back on May 16 during the Bruins' season-ending availability.
"There's lots of reasons I'd be very fortunate, if the opportunity's there and it works, to work out a deal to be back."
The hope is that he'd be back in Black & Gold. But, if it doesn't work out, Chiarelli is prepared with different routes.
"Yeah, yeah. We've got good alternatives," said the GM. "And I'd like to have Iggy. I'd like to have that right shot, and Iggy's right shot is good. So, if you look on our right side, we've got two leftys right now [in Reilly Smith and Loui Eriksson]. You know, you see how he plays, he plays the Bruins' style of game, so that's good, too."
Chiarelli is getting offers of help from the other general managers, who see the Bruins' cap situation.
"Well, when they see all this talk about Iginla, it's like, yeah, Chiarelli's going to have to move something," he said.
"So yeah I do, there's a lot of [offers]. They want to help out; they want to help the Bruins," he laughed, while also drawing out laughter from the handful of gathered reporters.
"I'd be doing the same thing if it was going the other way, though."
As Chiarelli and his staff continue to prepare for all possible scenarios, the GM gets the sense that even if Iginla and his agent were to talk to other teams, that they would come back to him.
"I would think so, I would think so," said Chiarelli. "You know, Jarome wants to stay and we're trying to find a spot for him. But we're both big boys - if we can't, we can't, but certainly, we're both trying to work at it."