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Chiarelli: Signing Krejci and Kessel will require some “skinning”

05.20.09 at 11:15 am ET
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Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli told 850 WEEI’s Dale and Holley on Wednesday morning that there will be some salary “skinning” this summer when making decisions about signing both restricted free agents Phil Kessel and David Krejci.

The two young forwards represent the biggest priorities on Chiarelli’s summer docket, and it’s expected that — with the salary cap ceiling potentially going down next season — the B’s might have to trade a high-priced key veteran in order to make room to sign both talented youngsters.

The Bruins retain exclusive rights to negotiate with both players until July 1, and then other teams could come in and sign either to offer sheets that Boston would need to match in order to retain them. The “skinning” will most likely come in the form of trading a high-priced veteran, with the most obvious names on the list including Patrice Bergeron ($4.75 million), Marc Savard ($5 million with a no-trade clause), Michael Ryder ($4 million). Marco Sturm ($3.5 million with a no-trade clause) and Chuck Kobasew ($2.33 million). 

The B’s GM also compared potential Bruins moves to surprising salary cap personnel decisions that the New England Patriots have been forced to make over the years in order to shimmy themselves under the NFL salary cap.

“We’ll start dialogue and see how it goes. (Krejci and Kessel) are young players that will continue to improve and will heal at a good clip. We talked to both of them through the year — while they were injured — about future impact and I’m satisfied that these players will continue to grow and improve,” said Chiarelli. “There are a lot of ways to skin a cat here, and I think that (signing both Krejci and Kessel) is going to require some skinning. I don’t know where and I don’t know how.

“It’s just going to be harder negotiations and harder choices. But I wouldn’t just focus on that. It could be a number of things that we could do. There’s going to be a crunch across the league. You see some of the things that the (Patriots) have had to do over the years and you go ‘Wow’. That may happen with us, and I know that will happen across the league. There’s going to be some of those ‘Wow’ moments and it’s the product of a cap system and a shrinking cap.”

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