Editor’s note: With free agency starting on July 1, and the window for teams to interview free agents starting on June 25, we’re taking a look at some the questions facing the Bruins.
If the Bruins can't re-sign Jerome Iginla, how will Peter Chiarelli fill that role?
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli admitted earlier this week that he has a plan in place with and without veteran forward Jarome Iginla on the roster.
Chiarelli and Iginla’s agent, Don Meehan, have had ongoing talks about re-signing the future Hall of Famer, and according to the Boston Herald, the sides will meet this weekend during the NHL Draft in Philadelphia.
Based on salary cap constraints, it’s likely Iginla would have to accept another incentive-laden deal, similar to last season’s contract. After the Bruins lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Iginla said he would like to remain in Boston because he believes the Bruins are strong and deep enough to win another Stanley Cup, something that has eluded him during his 17-year career.
Chiarelli wants Iginla back, too. The top-line winger provided leadership and production both on and off the ice last season. He was a 30-goal scorer and helped Boston’s top line remain consistent for the majority of the regular season.
If the sides can come to an agreement, it will be the best-case scenario for the Bruins. The Bruins should do everything possible to re-sign Iginla.
The free-agent interview process begins on June 25 and Iginla is allowed to speak with other interested teams, and there will likely be plenty of them.
If the sides can’t come to an agreement, the Bruins have options. One could be to move Loui Eriksson to the top line, along with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. That could open a spot for some internal competition for a spot on the third line amongst the prospects in the Bruins’ organization, including Jordan Caron, Justin Florek, Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Alexander Khokhlachev.
If Chiarelli decides to look externally, he could find a replacement via the trade market or free agency. On Monday, Chiarelli said he would talk with a few free agents once the interview period began, but he didn’t expect to go “full force” into the market.
An interesting option would be Daniel Alfredsson, who has said he wants to return to Detroit. The Bruins have shown interest in the veteran forward in the past and he has a relationship with Chiarelli that dates back to when both worked for the Ottawa Senators. Alfredsson is 41 and could sign a similar incentive-laden contract. He signed with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent last summer and earned a one-year deal worth $5.5 million, which included bonuses.