Chiarelli expects Iginla to test the market

About an hour before the opening of the NHL’s free-agency period opened, Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli acknowledged that his main target, Jarome Iginla, will test the market.

Chiarelli has had many discussions with Iginla’s agent, Don Meehan, but the cap-strapped Bruins expect the veteran forward to take advantage of his unrestricted free agent status for the second straight offseason. The NHL’s free-agent signing period begins at noon Tuesday.

“My guess is that he’s going to test the market,” Chiarelli told bostonbruins.com on Tuesday morning. “He wants a little more term and 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.”

Iginla earned about $6 million in salary in bonuses this past season for the Bruins after signing an incentive-laden deal this past offseason. He is thought to be looking for a multi-year contract. Among the teams that we’ve heard have interest in Iginla are Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Colorado and Detroit.

If Iginla signs elsewhere, Chiarelli said the Bruins would search for a right winger to replace him on the trade market or in free agency, though he added he thought the team would be more likely to be active in the secondary free-agent market.

“You probably won’t see the Bruins attached to any of these big names today,” Chiarelli said.