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Chiarelli Gives Updates on Expectations, Iginla Before Free Agency Opens

Tuesday, 07.01.2014 / 11:00 AM
By Caryn Switaj - BostonBruins.com / Bruins Blog
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Chiarelli Gives Updates on Expectations, Iginla Before Free Agency Opens

BostonBruins.com - Before the NHL's free agency period officially opens at noon ET today, General Manager Peter Chiarelli took a few minutes to update BostonBruins.com on the club's expectations.

"Well, we go into it, we've done a lot of preparation. Obviously, we've got a big name in Jarome Iginla that we're trying to sign and I've had a lot of discussions with Jarome's agent Don Meehan," Chiarelli said from his office on Tuesday.

"You know, my guess is that he's going to test the market. He wants a little more term and stuff - normally I don't comment on negotiations, but Jarome's been really good for us, and if we don't have him back, I wish him well."

"So, there's that going on. And then we look to the trade market, which is existing right now, and the free agent market for right wing, so we're looking for that also."

"There's some smaller pieces that we look for, a couple of depth players, but not really too active. We may be a little more active in the trade market or the secondary free agent market. You probably won't see the Bruins attached to any of these big names today."

Iginla highlights the Bruins' list of free agents on July 1.

Chiarelli informed unrestricted free agent Shawn Thornton on June 16 that the club would not be re-signing him. On June 23, the Bruins inked goalie Niklas Svedberg to a one-year, one-way contract, suggesting that UFA Chad Johnson would likely not be re-signed.

UFAs that played for Boston in 2013-14 also include Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter.

As Chiarelli noted, the Bruins also look to sign depth players from free agency. Last offseason, on the same day they signed Iginla, they signed Nick Johnson and Mike Moore, who provided veteran leadership for Providence.

There's also a host of restricted free agents for the Bruins, including Torey Krug, Reilly Smith and Matt Bartkowski. The Bruins' RFA signings will probably come shortly after the first free agency surge, in early July.

Chiarelli has said that Boston won't be going "full force" into the free agency pool. That's to be expected, given their strong core in tact, and a restricted salary cap situation, with the upper limit set at $69 million for 2014-15.

The Bruins are at just over $67 million with their current roster, according to CapGeek.com. That includes the about $4.8 million in bonus overages they incurred this season that carry over into their 2013-14 cap hit. With Marc Savard placed on long-term injured reserve, that gives Boston roughly $5.6 million (according to CapGeek) in cap space.

The primary free agent market is often inflated, and expensive. The Bruins just don't have the cap space, unless they move parts.

"Well it's before noon, so I just hear numbers and term figures from the shopping period - and they're very high," Chiarelli said of the asking prices in this year's free agent market.

"But it's usually like that. But you know what? When you're in on a player and there's one other team, that's all it takes to get into the hyper-inflation levels, so they're high."

"We're fortunate, we have players under contract and so we don't really have a lot of holes to fill. What happens also is there's a lot of players that come out of the woodwork after everyone's finished spending money, and a lot of good players. So that's probably where you'll see us."

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