“Johnny was upset. I was upset. I’m still upset.” The words from Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli after he sent defenseman Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders for two second round draft picks in the 2015 draft. If he thinks he and Boychuk are upset, he should hear the loud boom from the people who buy all those Bruins 55 Jerseys and others.
Chiarelli’s hand was forced, basically by his own hand, and by the Salary Cap Jail he backed himself into by signing a lot of his players to long term rich deals, some with no movement clauses in those deals, and now they have no money to play with as this season opens Wednesday night when the Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers. On top of that they still have the Jerome Iginla hangover hanging over their head, meaning all of those incentives that Iginla hit last year, now The Bruins have to pay the piper and that means even though Iginla is no longer here, those incentives, delayed as they are, count against this years Cap.
What does this mean? It means the Bruins have 3.36M more to play with and as Chiarelli said during his press conference Saturday at the TD Garden, when asked if another shoe could drop, “There might be. A lot of things can happen. See how the team gels.” He also said that “tonight is the final audition for a lot of players.”
Boychuk, the ever popular player with fans and his teammates earlier in training camp had expressed his desire to remain in Boston for the rest of his career and was hoping somehow some way that it could happen. But as we all knew, his stock in the National Hockey League was rising and fast. Chiarelli said he told Johnny that he was glad he brought him to Boston. That he did everything that he was told to do. He got better as a player. You were part of the fabric of the team.” But as we all know, in the words of Don Corleone, It’s not personal Johnny, It’s just business. As an unrestricted free agent after this year, he will probably command 5-to-6 million per season and Boston does not have that room and/or desire to pay him that kind of money, despite the fact that Brooks Orpik, someone I think is not even close in talent to Boychuk is getting from the Washington Capitals.
Now it’s time for Chiarelli to figure out who else goes and who stays and just how to use that Long Term Insurance waiver they still have with Marc Savard not available to play. Are the Bruins as good right now as they were Friday night? Chiarelli says the trade “doesn’t make us better now, obviously” but from the looks of things, there are more pieces to be displaced and fitted into this Bruins puzzle!