As I have been touching on over the course of my last couple of pieces, the Boston Bruins are in serious trouble when it comes to the salary cap this offseason. According to capgeeek.com, the Bruins have under $2 million in available room against the cap with a lot of unrestricted and restricted free agents from last season’s roster. Of that group, Torey Krug, Reilly Smith, Jordan Caron and Matt Bartkowski are under team control, while Jarome Iginla is unrestricted. Boston has already said goodbye to Shawn Thornton and Chad Johnson. With that all being said, two Bruins’ defensemen, Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk, carry a combined $4.93 million cap hit that can be used more effectively.
Boychuck has been of immeasurable value to the Bruins on the back line, and seeing him leave via trade would hurt most fans. McQuaid has struggled with injuries a lot over the past two seasons, and his departure would free up space for the younger, more mobile defensemen mentioned above. The biggest reason why these two might become the odd men out on the Boston blueline deals with the fact that both will be unrestricted free agents after this season. Because of the fact that both are tough defenseman who play a strong-checking game that helped the Bruins win a Stanley Cup in 2011, re-signing one or both of them will almost be impossible.
Therefore, it would be smart for the Bruins to consider shopping the pair in a trade or two, looking for help offensively while most importantly ridding the team of their contracts. Boychuck’s rocket shot, often portrayed by Bruins announcer Jack Edwards as a “Johnny Rocket,” is among one of the hardest in the league. And McQuaid’s physical presence made him a team-favorite during his tenure with it. It would not be hard to find suitors for the two, but finding a willing partner might hinge on whether McQuaid or Boychuck would sign a contract extension.
To replace these two, Boston would look to Krug and Bartkowski, along with Kevan Miller and David Warsofsky to round out a defensive corps that will return Dennis Seidenberg after a big injury. The team would get younger, cheaper and more mobile defensively in this scenario. That certainly seems like a solid idea for the Bruins headed into next season.