|Darrelle Revis leaving Patriots provides reminder of what could have been with Jarome Iginla and Bruins||03.11.15 at 2:30 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — A future Hall-of-Famer comes to a team, looks like he should have been there his whole career en route to a brilliant season and then disappears in the blink of a business decision. Sound familiar?
It does to the Bruins, who can undoubtedly relate to the Patriots’ pain as Darrelle Revis makes his way back to the Jets. Just last season, it seemed like a sure thing that the Bruins and Jarome Iginla would find a way to overcome the looming cap crunch and keep the 30-goal-scorer in Boston past his one-year contract. Any optimism there faded when it became clear that Iginla could not in good conscience go year-to-year on one-year deals with bonuses, as he instead opted for the security of a traditional deal with the Avalanche for three years and $16 million.
In both cases, the teams enjoyed the player’s contributions while knowing a potential departure could be looming. Milan Lucic, as knowledgable a Patriots fan as any and a now former linemate of Iginla, can see the similarities between the unfortunate departures.
“You’re definitely thinking and you’re definitely hoping that at the end of the day, something would work out for both parties and they would remain together,” Lucic said. “When it falls apart, as a teammate, it’s out of your control and sometimes it can get frustrating, but at the end of the day you understand that it’s a business and you have to move forward with the teammates that you have.
“You definitely miss [Iginla] for what he brought to the team and what he brought to this dressing room and who he was as a person and as a player, but at the end of the day you have to move on and do what’s best for the team and help the team win.”
There are obvious differences between the two situations aside from the fact that one union resulted in a championship and the other did. Financially, the biggest difference was that it was the initial signing of Iginla that made him so difficult to retain. The B’s used the bonus cushion that teams can use with 35-and-over players, paying him a $1.8 million salary (which stood as his cap hit) but giving him $4.2 million in easily attained bonuses. The bonus money applied to this year’s cap in the form of an overage penalty, giving the Bruins no flexibility.
“You would have liked to see him stay, especially as a fan of the Patriots,” Lucic said. “What he was able to bring to the defensive game of that team — I think it was [Devin] McCourty that said it: That defense was able to do so much more because he was able to shut down the guy, the top receiver, to two-to-three receptions a game versus [the] eight-to-nine that they usually get.
“You would have loved to have seen them maybe pick up that option and have him for another year, but at the end of the day, how could you blame the guy? The guy got 70 million bucks over [five] years, so it’s hard for him to say no to something like that, and obviously having 40 million guaranteed on top of that. At the end of the day, he came here and helped the team win the Super Bowl, so as a fan you’re thankful for what he brought to the team, but on the other end you wish that he could have spent some more time and maybe brought another championship here.”
Neither the Bruins nor Iginla have benefited on the ice from their parting. The B’s tried multiple experiments trying to replace him before settling on 18-year-old David Pastrnak, who, while promising for future seasons, can’t be seen as a sure thing in the Stanley Cup playoffs next month. Iginla’s goals per game are down in Colorado, where he is on pace for 26 goals as the Avalanche sit 11th in the Western Conference.
|Jarome Iginla ‘understands’ why Bruins couldn’t bring him back: ‘There are cap issues’||10.13.14 at 7:39 pm ET|
Jarome Iginla holds no grudges against the Bruins. As a matter of fact, he said after Monday’s 2-1 win over his former employer that he’s grateful for the one year he spent in Boston.
“It was definitely a little bit different,” said Iginla, who had no shots or assists in 17 minutes and 20 shifts. “I had one of the best [years] of my career, one of the most exciting years last year, one of favorite years, the whole experience coming to this. I made some good friends that are on their side playing with the team, and we had a very good team. So it was a little different, for sure. It hasn’t been too long, it feels almost like you’ve just been gone for a long vacation, but it’s part of the game.
“Coming from the other side, once the game starts, it’s business. We were looking for our first win, and we knew they were trying to get things going for themselves. But it’s a bit different on the ice. You wouldn’t want to play all the time against that team, but it’s a great place and it’s fun to come back.”
After 30 goals and 31 assists in 78 games on Boston’s top line, Iginla left Boston for Denver and signed a three-year, $16 million deal with the Avalanche. On Monday, he acknowledged the real economics the Bruins were facing.
“Well, I understand it,” Iginla said. “I was hoping at the time, before free agency opened, that it could work out, but you know there are cap issues. With my family, we wanted to be able to make sure, I’m going to play more than one year, and I didn’t want to just play one year then next year [the Bruins] have even less [cap] room. With all the good, young guys they have coming up, they’ve got to keep room for them and keep signing them.
“It’s a good problem to have, though, if you’re the Bruins. But I understood why and figured if I was going to move my family, it would be the time now, before they keep getting more entrenched in school and liking it even more, and then trying to move the following year. I’ve got a great opportunity in Colorado. I’m excited to be here, and it’s a good, young, fun team. But like I said, before that with the Bruins, it was one of the best experiences of my career. I understand why, and like I said, their young guys played, [Torey] Krug, Dougie Hamilton, [Reilly] Smith, they played great. You’ve got to have room for them, Looch, the list goes on. So I understand.”
|Bruins seem comfortable with idea of Loui Eriksson on top line||07.25.14 at 2:56 pm ET|
Bruins fans should prepare for Loui Eriksson on the first line next season.
Speaking to the media for the first time this summer, Claude Julien reiterated on Thursday’s conference call what’s already been said by Peter Chiarelli this summer: The team is confident that Eriksson is a viable replacement for the departed Jarome Iginla to skate alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
“We don’t feel like were in a real tough situation,” Julien said. “We’ve lost Jarome, but as you’ve probably heard, I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year. I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility.”
One issue with Eriksson playing on that line that has come up numerous times is the fact that he’s a left shot and that Krejci hasn’t had a left shot on the right wing in recent years, as Iginla, Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin were all righties. Maybe that won’t be a problem for him at all, and maybe there will be some adjustment.
It is worth noting that Eriksson played on that line late in the regular season when the Bruins gave Iginla some time off to get him sharp for the playoffs. Amidst that stretch came Eriksson’s best offensive performance of the season, as he registered four assists (three of which were on goals by Lucic or Krejci) and had a season-high seven shots on goal.
In his time with Dallas, Eriksson was a first-liner, and the expectation when he came to Boston was that he would be the perfect second-line right wing to a team with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Those three never formed chemistry, and the struggles of Marchand and the two concussions for Eriksson meant that trio wouldn’t stick. He returned from his second concussion as a third-liner and teamed wonderfully with Carl Soderberg to provide the Bruins with their strongest third line since the Peverley-Chris Kelly-Michael Ryder days of 2011.
If the roster remains the way it is now, the Bruins should absolutely weaken their third line and put Eriksson on the top line. The roster isn’t going to remain the way it is, however, as the team should trade at least one of what Chiarelli considers to be nine NHL defensemen.
Unless the defenseman traded is Johnny Boychuk, the Bruins probably won’t be getting a sure-fire first-line right wing back. If they trade a lesser commodity like David Warsofsky or Matt Bartkowski, it’s more realistic to expect a third-line candidate in return.
Barring a trade for a first-line right wing, that Krejci line will be different than years past no matter what. Since Krejci became the team’s first-line center in the 2010-11 season, he has had bookend power forwards on his line, with Lucic to his left and Horton or Iginla on his right. Eriksson is far from a power forward, and the Bruins don’t have anyone on their roster who can bring the sandpaper to the right wing the way Horton and Iginla did.
There are pros to having Eriksson there, however. He may not be as tiring to play against as Iginla, but he’s younger, faster and depends well. And it isn’t like he can’t score; last season was the first time in a full season that he hasn’t scored at least 26 goals since 2007-08. He was a 36-goal scorer once upon a time, hitting that mark in the 2008-09 season.
Last offseason, Eriksson’s place in the Bruins’ lineup seemed obvious, but that changed. Perhaps the expectations held now can change as well, but for now it appears that Eriksson is a good bet to be a first-liner.
|Jarome Iginla: Cap situation meant return to Bruins ‘wasn’t really an option’||07.01.14 at 3:47 pm ET|
Doing a phone interview on Sportsnet after signing with the Avalanche, veteran right wing Jarome Iginla explained that returning to the Bruins ‘wasn’t really an option.’
“It was tough to be leaving Boston and such a great organization and city and a great group of guys,” Iginla said when discussing his decision to sign with Colorado.
Iginla took a three-year, $16 million deal with the Avalanche. He had said he wanted to return to the Bruins, but the Bruins have only $5.69 million in cap space for next season with multiple players on their roster (restricted free agents Torey Krug, Reilly Smith) needing new contracts.
Asked whether his departure from Boston came down to Boston’s lack of cap space, Iginla replied, “I believe so for my side. I don’t know for sure from theirs. They were always very positive and great to me.”
He did note that though the sides may have been able to find a way to work out a one-year deal, he didn’t think the Bruins would be able to sign him in future seasons.
“Even to work a one-year deal this year was very hard for them,” Iginla said. “I don’t know if that would have fully been an option. Even if it was, we want to keep playing. I feel great, I love hockey.
“I want to play for more than just this year, and even if we were to fit in this year, it would be even harder next year with the guys that are up and the guys that will be up for contracts. … They have a whole group of great young guys that they do need to keep, so I understood that I just, it wasn’t really an option.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Report: Canucks to make ‘big push’ for Jarome Iginla||at 10:19 am ET|
According to TSN’s Farhan Lalji, the Canucks will make a ‘big push’ for Jarome Iginla at the start of free of free agency.
The obvious connection between the two sides is Jim Benning, who was hired this offseason to be Vancouver’s general manager after years of being an assistant GM in Boston.
Despite the interest the Canucks may have, they don’t seem like a logical fit for Iginla. The 37-year-old wants to win the Stanley Cup, and going to a rebuilding team that recently traded Ryan Kesler wouldn’t make much sense. After all, the reason he left Calgary in the first place was because he wanted to play for a contender.
Other teams reportedly interested in the future Hall of Famer include Minnesota, Colorado and Detroit. Iginla’s preference is to return to Boston, but the Bruins will need to shed cap space in order to sign him.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Report: Jarome Iginla to test free agency||06.30.14 at 7:56 pm ET|
In some not-too-surprising news, Jarome Iginla will not sign with the Bruins before the start of free agency and will become an unrestricted free agent as of Tuesday at noon, according to a report from Chris Johnson of Sportsnet.
The Bruins and general manager Peter Chiarelli have stayed in contact with Iginla and agent Don Meehan, as they hope to sign the player but currently don’t have the cap space to do so. As such, Iginla has spoken to other teams in the pre-free-agency period in which contact between teams and soon-to-be free agents is permitted.
As of Monday evening, the Bruins have $67,582,500 committed to their cap figure for next season, with the league’s upper-limit set at $69 million. Including the $4.027 million by which they can exceed the limit given Marc Savard‘s long-term injury status, the Bruins have $5,697,500 to spend, though they must also sign restricted free agents Torey Krug and Reilly Smith, among others. A source familiar with the situation told WEEI.com Monday that Chiarelli is “reviewing all of his options” regarding the cap crunch the Bruins currently face.
Iginla will turn 37 on Tuesday, though he’s still plenty productive. The future Hall-of-Famer’s 30 goals were tied for the team lead for the Bruins in the regular season. He also led the B’s with five postseason goals.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
Peter Chiarelli told reporters in Philadelphia over the weekend that Jarome Iginla and agent Don Meehan would talk to other teams, a process that has seemingly begun given that the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported the Wild contacted the soon-to-be free agent.
Free agency begins Tuesday, though teams have been able to talk to free-agents-to-be since last Wednesday. Iginla, who turns 37 Tuesday, figures to have plenty of potential suitors.
Chiarelli had also said that Iginla’s camp would stay in contact with the Bruins throughout the process, as the player wants to return to Boston but the Bruins have a little less than $6 million in salary cap space to sign a group of players that also includes Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.
If the Bruins are unable to bring Iginla back, there are plenty of contenders with ample cap space. The Lightning cleared cap space via trades Sunday night to give them somewhere around $13 million to spend, while the Wild have long to be believed to be spenders this offseason, either by signing Thomas Vanek or somebody else. Anaheim, Montreal and the Rangers are also among the contending teams with money to spend.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
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