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Bruins Do Shit In The First Day Of Free Agency. Duh.

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Every July, (some) Bruins fans are like characters in “Men In Black” that run into Tommy Lee and the Fresh Prince—their minds have been wiped clean. They keep expecting their team, still a legit contender without Jarome Iginla, to make some grand, overpaid splash on the first day of free agency, despite years of evidence indicating that’s exactly what they won’t do. I really don’t know why they expected the Bruins to be players yesterday (and judging by the silly money that was thrown around, Bs fans should be okay that their team stood pat for one day).

But they didn’t have much of a choice either. Pete Chiarelli is presently doing a bid in cap jail thanks to bonus money paid to Iginla, Torey Krug, and Dougie “All Right” Hamilton. A nice Cup run would’ve made this all go down a little easier but that wasn’t even close to happening so this is just salt in the wound. And he still needs to sign RFAs Krug and Reilly Smith as well as fill out the rest of the roster (four other openings). Oh, and he has $5.6M to do all that with. So yeah, not sure why people thought GMPC was going to suddenly morph into a drunken Glen Sather yesterday.

There’s an irony in this of course. For years, the franchise was rightfully pilloried for its cheap prick ways. But now, with lots of shiny toys available, the Bruins can’t play with any of them because they spent too much money.

It’s obvious that the team will need to make trades in order to be cap-compliant before the 2014-15 season opens. The front office elected to once again not use either a compliance buyout or a standard buyout in order to provide some relief. But it’s worth noting that trading a guy and getting assets back for him is better than buying him out and being stuck with his cap hit for years. There’s still plenty of time to make trades. And if Chiarelli got a taker for Rich Peverley’s deal, he’ll get somebody to take on Chris Kelly’s $3M for the next two years (provided he’s comfortable with Carl Soderberg at center and willing to trade Kelly).

Are the Bs a better team today? Hell, no. They lost Jarome Iginla. Am I disappointed today? Not really. I wasn’t expecting anything yesterday and I don’t think trading (likely) two guys to make room for Iginla for one year (and probably risking more bonus overages) would have been a prudent move. The 2004 Jarome Iginla was irreplaceable. The 2013-14 version, while still a highly valuable player, is one that can be replaced. It’s a shame he couldn’t stay and it would’ve been great to have the future HOFer for another year. Great fit, awful timing. But when a team is offering you what Colorado offered him, you can’t blame a 37-year-old guy for taking three years guaranteed totalling $16M vs. one year at maybe $5-6M.

As for his spot on the ice, the team should simply slide Loui Eriksson in his spot. I thought the team should’ve give Loui a shot at playing with the top line but that never happened once Iginla was brought in. But this line looked pretty damn good when they played together while Iginla rested up for the playoffs. And now that he’s healed from his back-to-back concussions (as much as one heals from such injuries), it’s not a stretch to think he replaces Iginla’s 30 goals. Because of the head injuries, he had a tough regular season. But he was one of the Bruins best forwards during the playoffs. And frankly, he belongs in the top six—the Bruins didn’t trade for him to play him on the third line.

As for replacing Loui’s spot on the third line, that could hypothetically be taken by any number of youngsters looking to stick with the big club. Or perhaps a cheap vet brought in after some salary gets dumped via trade (Dustin Penner is a big RW with two Cups, a shitload of career earnings, and he shows up in the playoffs, you could do much worse than him). I know Radim Vrbata’s name is getting tossed around a lot but he’ll be too expensive if he has that much interest in him.

For those of you panicking, take a few deep breaths. It’s July 2nd. The season doesn’t start for another three months. That’s plenty of time for the front office to work on filling out the roster and making whatever changes they see fit. Just be thankful your team didn’t sign Deryk Engelland to a three-year deal averaging $2.9M per year. Or Benoit Pouliot to a 5 year/$20M deal (not a typo).