Things seemingly have been quiet on the trade rumor mill lately, but that doesn’t mean Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli isn’t working hard behind the scenes trying to pave the way for some possible cap-clearing moves.
Chiarelli is in a precarious position that, as ESPN.com’s Pierre Lebrun pointed out in his Cross Checks blog Saturday night, is only going to become more difficult in December when Marco Sturm and Marc Savard are expected to come off long-term injury reserve. Sturm ($3.5 million) and Savard ($4 million) will present a combined $7.5 million hit against the $59.4 million salary cap.
According to capgeek.com, the Bruins have $1.8 million in cap space with Sturm and Savard on LTIR, and if they were to put them back in the lineup right now, Boston would be over the cap. Chiarelli told Lebrun that he is working to remedy the cap problems.
"I'm going to have to do something, I'm not hiding away from the fact," Chiarelli said Friday.
Lebrun figures that, as many have speculated, the Bruins are trying to move winger Michael Ryder, who is making $4 million in the last year of his contract. But Lebrun makes the valid point that clearing Ryder off the books won’t be enough. Sturm is also mentioned as a trade candidate, but remember, he has a no-movement clause and may not be that attractive to teams having just come off LTIR. LeBrun makes another valid point that Tim Thomas most likely is off the trading block since he’s off to the best start of his career at 4-0-0 with a 0.75 GAA and .978 save percentage.
On Sunday, a Bruins source told ESPNBoston.com that Sturm has not been approached about waiving the no-movement clause and it’s “unlikely” he would waive it. This source also said that forward Blake Wheeler ($2.2 million) and defenseman Matt Hunwick ($1.4 million) are in play as possible trade bait. Hunwick has struggled with puck movement and decision-making early on, and Wheeler once again isn’t playing the physical game that the team would like (although he does have two assists). Both Wheeler and Hunwick will be restricted free agents after this season.