|Peter Chiarelli: Bruins letting Tomas Kaberle, Michael Ryder test market||06.30.11 at 12:42 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli spoke with the media Thursday in anticipation of the NHL’s free agency period opening Friday. The Bruins have two players set to hit unrestricted free agency in winger Michael Ryder and defenseman Tomas Kaberle. The GM said that ties have not been severed with either player, but that the B’s likely won’t be active in the early stages of free agency.
“Certainly theres no finality to our relationship,” Chiarelli said of Kaberle. “What we’ve agreed to with Tomas and his agent is that he would look into the market and we would continue to talk with him. … Let me be perfectly clear, there’s no end to the relationship because we haven’t signed him to this point.”
Chiarelli noted that if the Bruins are unable to retain Kaberle, he will look both in-house and elsewhere for his replacement on the Bruins’ blue line.
He also indicated that the B’s are taking the same approach with Ryder, and that if the players take deals with other teams, the Bruins are willing to accept that fate.
“I’m wary of the market and where it stands now,” Chiarelli said. “I said, ‘Look guys, go out there, see what’s going on and let’s continue to talk.’ The risk that we run is that they get a deal and then they can’t come back to us, and I understand that risk. That’s where those two guys stand.”
Depending on what the B’s do with Ryder, Kaberle, restricted free agent Brad Marchand and what happens with Marc Savard, the team could be in good standing with the league’s salary cap (set for $64.3 million next season). Despite the fact that they should have money to spend, allocating resources to multiple years could make things difficult for the Bruins, as both David Krejci and Tuukka Rask will see their current contracts expire after the coming season. Tyler Seguin‘s deal is up in two years, and one would have to assume all three players will see increases in pay.
“It certainly impacts it,” Chiarelli said of knowing they have future raises to give. “I’m a little wary of the market, first and foremost. The cap is high, and the cap is certainly going to come down in some shape or form, so generally speaking, I’m wary of the market and where I think it may be going.
“Two, and a close two, is that we do have guys that we warrant to re-sign, and they’re going to command raises. I’m really not in a position to go out and give a guy a big-term contract. I think thwart we can find that help elsewhere other than a big-term contract and still be in a good position to re-sign our guys as they come up the next year or two.”
The Bruins qualified restricted free agents Marchand, Andrew Bodnarchuk and Stefan Chaput. Chiarelli said that negotiations with Marchand have not yet begun.
The GM also said that the team will not re-sign defenseman Shane Hnidy, who served as a healthy scratch/depth player during the stretch run and postseason. Hnidy, 35, played three games in both the regular season and postseason.
“We’ve told Shane that we aren’t re-signing him,” Chiarelli said. “I think he’ll be a good addition somewhere else, and I told him that. Certainly I’d help him along the way for that.”
As for whether the list of Bruins’ targets may be shrinking, Chiarelli admitted that some players have been taken out of consideration in recent days. The rights of players set to hit free agency have been traded, which may factor into that.
“I have a big whiteboard in my office and I have our interest list and I have our secondary list,” he said. “Yes, there are names knocked off. Just because they’re on our interest list doesn’t mean we’re going to go off and sign them, but certainly we’re going to explore them. And I’ve crossed off names.”
One thing that came up time and time again was Chiarelli noting how “wary” of the market he was. He assessed the crop as being less than outstanding, which may be a reason why he would have reservations about making a big splash.
“I look at my board and I see the number of players and the quality of players,” he said. “And the numbers may be the same, [but] the quality is … there’s just not the high end players. Then of course you’ve got the floor of the cap and teams have to spend, so you’re going to get contracts I think that, maybe that, they’re generally higher in the unrestricted market, but I even think they’ll be that added premium because teams have to spend. … That’s why I’m a little cautious going into this market. There’s not the supply that there normally is, and I think the demand is greater because of the cap floor and teams have to spend.”
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