Boston Bruins: Tick Tock Goes the Clock

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Dominic Tiano | Follow me on Twitter @dominictiano

The trade deadline is two weeks today, and Pierre LeBrun is absolutely correct. A quick look at CapFriendly shows that of the 16 current playoff teams, 10 of them are in long-term injury reserve space. The five remaining teams are actually in a good cap situation and could make deals to improve themselves today. In order of most cap space to least, they are Nashville, Rangers, Minnesota, Boston, Colorado, and Calgary, although the Flames have a minuscule $645,000 in current cap space.

Of course, the Bruins situation would be further improved if they were to include Jake DeBrusk in any deal, but that’s a story for another day.

Sellers are getting antsy because there aren’t a lot of buyers that can pull the trigger right now. As LeBrun says, the closer they can get to trade deadline day, the more cap space they can bank. So, the sellers are left gambling: take the sure thing now, or wait until the deadline in hopes of getting a better deal that may not come?

As a seller, you also run the risk that more selling teams will join the rush. As of today, the Oilers, Ducks, and yes, even the Canucks are within range of a playoff spot and could make a playoff push. But once any combination of three western conference teams begin to drop, well, you’ve added another seller in direct competition with you.

Assuming DeBrusk is not traded for the time being, here is the Bruins cap situation as they entered tonight’s matchup with Los Angeles:

As you can see, on the trade deadline, the Bruins could add a player with an AAV of just over $5,000,000. That’s the player’s full AAV they can add; no prorating to be done here.

There is some maneuverability here, though. Today, the Bruins are carrying 14 forwards. Jesper Froden does not require waivers, and Urho Vaakanainen is skating and ready to come off injured reserve. That means Jack Ahcan could and likely would be sent to Providence to bank some cap space. See what happens if those moves were made tomorrow morning:

Suddenly, with two simple moves, that $5 million in deadline cap space becomes almost $7.4 million. That is with a 23-man roster, so if they do bring in a player before the trade deadline, another player would have to go down to clear a roster spot, or traded, which would free up even more money. However, after trade deadline day, there is no 23-man roster limit as long as you remain cap compliant.

I am often told the Bruins are not in a good cap situation. They are. And in an almost better position than the rest of the playoff teams.

I’m sure that Don Sweeney is working the phones trying to get something done before the deadline. He has the maneuverability. And there are some General Managers that are getting impatient.

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