Last summer, Daniel Alfredsson and Jarome Iginla were two of the right wings the Bruins recruited for their top-line opening. They were targets not just because of their games. Their ages were also factors. Because Alfredsson (41) and Iginla (36) were 35-or-older players, the Bruins could pull off some creative accounting. Under a one-year deal, both could receive lower base salaries but make it up via bonuses. This is how the Bruins locked up Iginla to a one-year contract with a $1.8 million cap hit. They promised Iginla $4.2 million in bonuses for a possible payday of $6 million. So far, Iginla has been well worth the investment. The drawback, as the Bruins always knew, is how it will affect next year’s books.
The Bruins are projected to carry an approximate $4.5 million penalty in 2014-15 for exceeding this season’s $64.3 million cap via bonuses due to Iginla, Dougie Hamilton, and Torey Krug. Teams estimate the cap will be around $70 million next season. The Bruins have about $62 million committed to next season’s payroll. They can exceed the cap by $4 million by exercising the long-term injury exception on Marc Savard as they did this season. But Krug, Matt Bartkowski, Reilly Smith, and Jordan Caron are scheduled to become restricted free agents. So is Niklas Svedberg, projected to be Tuukka Rask’s backup.
Krug, Smith, and Bartkowski could double their current salaries. If so, the Bruins would have trouble re-signing Iginla to a multiyear extension, which he probably deserves. Iginla would have to be willing to accept a similar deal: a one-year contract heavily stacked with bonuses. Teams are not allowed to include bonuses on a multiyear contract to a player 35 or older.
It’s been a perfect fit between Iginla and the Bruins. It would benefit both sides to go for a one-year repeat with a slight pay bump. Iginla wants to play until he’s 40. The right wing isn’t showing any signs of wear. If so, the sides could agree in principle to an extension but couldn’t make it official until July 5. But if Iginla reaches the open market, he could score at least a two-year contract at good money with a team boasting more cap space than the Bruins. It may be too appealing for Iginla to pass up.