By Dan Charest @dannyacharest on May 4, 2014
Even though the Boston Bruins are still in the thick of things in trying to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup, you can bet your bottom dollar that the honchos in the front office are already looking at who will and who will not be sticking around next year. As it stands now, there are six restricted and five unrestricted free agents on the 30-man. The team has .5 million in cap space, making for some interesting summer decision-making.
The veteran defenseman who struggles to crack the lineup came to Boston at the trade deadline from the Philadelphia Flyers. Like others before him (Steve Montador, Tomas Kaberle), he will likely part ways with the franchise once the season ends.
Chad Johnson played respectably enough in 2014 in his first full NHL season to earn the right to entertain offers on the free agent market. His 2.10 GAA in 27 games combined with a .925 save percentage and 17-5-3-2 record should raise his salary from the 0,000 he made in Boston.
The one-year, .8 million Jarome Iginla experiment in Boston has prospered. The future Hall-of-Famer has put the pucks in the back of the net almost nearly at the rate he did during his prime in Calgary, tying for the team lead with 30 goals alongside Bergeron. He also has paired nicely on the first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, but the Bruins are already close to the cap and may choose to invest elsewhere.
Torey Krug is only 23, but will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. While he can score better than most defensemen, his defensive play has been a cause for concern. GM Peter Chiarelli could let Krug walk and hope for a draft pick in return, or ship out the breakout star of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs like what management did with Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin.
Could Shawn Thornton's days in Boston really be numbered? Well, the free agent to be will turn 37 in July and only averaged six goals in six Boston seasons. Like Iginla, the Bruins could choose to devote their money elsewhere in free agency or in the restricted free agents they already have on the roster. But even as a fourth liner, Thornton is the heart and soul of the team, and it would be extremely unpopular to send him packing.
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