Bruins

All things considered, the Bruins are in a pretty good cap situation

All things considered, the Bruins are in a pretty good cap situation

Ahead of the 2020 NHL trade deadline, the Bruins have ample cap space to make a deal without requiring much in the way of roster gymnastics.

The Bruins hold roughly $3.1 million in salary cap space according to the invaluable CapFriendly.com, and that’s with a full roster utilizing all 23 spots along with a couple B’s players currently on long-term injured reserve as well.

Some of that is thanks to the $2.5 million cap hit for the injured Kevan Miller that’s never been on the Bruins books at any point this season. And some of that is thanks to the Bruins burying David Backes’ contract in the AHL more than a month ago.

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What it means is that the Bruins can make a decent deadline deal without being forced to dump salary, and would only be pushed into making moves to free up cap space if it were for an impact player with a substantial cap hit in the $5 plus million range.

The Bruins’ cap situation gives the Bruins some room to work while also boasting a roster that’s put up the most points in the NHL midway through the month of February.

That’s a pretty darn good situation to be in for Sweeney and Co. at the deadline coming off a Stanley Cup Final-worthy season.

For example, the Bruins were interested in Blake Coleman’s services prior to the New Jersey forward getting dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning and it would have required zero in cap-clearing moves to bring the speedy, feisty Coleman into the fold. That’s part of the reason the Bruins had a keen interest in Coleman in the first place as a low-cost option for the next couple of seasons.

Miller (fractured kneecap) has been skating on his own for weeks, but isn’t close to returning with legitimate question marks as to whether or not he’ll ever be healthy enough to play this season. That gives the Bruins cap space to play with ahead of next week’s trade deadline and potentially allows them to go over the cap if Miller were to somehow be healthy enough to return just ahead of Boston’s playoff run.  

There is, after all, no salary cap in the Stanley Cup playoffs and a crafty salary cap manager can use that to their advantage over the final few months of the season if the timing of an injured player’s return works out perfectly.

If the Bruins were to bring in a player like Chris Kreider or Tyler Toffoli (both in the $4.6 million range), for instance, they’d need to clear about $1.5 million in cap space ahead of the deal. The Bruins could achieve that by shipping depth guys like Anton Blidh and Jeremy Lauzon to the minors provided everybody else was healthy.

If it’s a more expensive cap acquisition like Mike Hoffman or Wayne Simmonds, then the Bruins would be forced to deal away a roster player with bottom-pairing defenseman John Moore as the most likely candidate to be shipped out of town.

The 29-year-old Moore ($2.75 million cap hit) has toggled between bottom-pairing defenseman and healthy scratch when he hasn’t been injured in his first two seasons with the Bruins. And the Black and Gold have cheaper in-house alternatives in Lauzon and Connor Clifton.

It’s never prudent for a team like the Bruins with Stanley Cup aspirations to trade away defensemen depth down the stretch. But they might not have a choice if they’re forced to go with Plan C or Plan D when the hours start counting down to next Monday’s trade deadline.

Bruce Cassidy, ex-Bruins teammates stunned by news of Colby Cave's coma

Bruce Cassidy, ex-Bruins teammates stunned by news of Colby Cave's coma

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy first got to know Colby Cave when he was the Providence Bruins coach and Cave arrived in the AHL as a 20-year-old from Saskatchewan in 2015.

So, the news that Cave, now with the Edmonton Oilers, is in a medically induced coma and in critical condition at a Toronto hospital after he had a brain bleed Tuesday and subsequent surgery was particularly jarring to Cassidy and Cave's former B's teammates.

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Cassidy told Joe McDonald of The Athletic that he and Cave's former teammates and coaches are working on get-well video messages for Cave, who had surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.

Cassidy said his wife, Julie, had spoken to Cave's wife, Emily.

“It’s very difficult for her because she can’t get in the room and give him a hug, or anything,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy said that despite the coma, he's hopeful that Cave can perhaps hear the messages. “Anything we can do. Every little bit helps and if we can chip in with some encouraging words then that’s what we’re going to do.”

Jay Leach, Cave's coach in Providence after Cassidy replaced Claude Julien in Boston, told the Athletic, “There’s no one better than Colby Cave with regards to being a person and the way he treats other people."

Cave played 23 games for Boston from 2017-19 and was put on the Bruins top line with David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand to fill in for Patrice Bergeron when Bergeron was injured in the 2018-19 season. When Cave was sent back to Providence, he didn't clear waivers and was claimed by the Oilers in January 2019.

Another former Bruin, Noel Acciari of the Florida Panthers, who played with Cave in Boston and Providence,  echoed Cassidy and Leach's sentiments.

"He’s who you want on your team," Acciari said. "It’s a terrible thing what has happened to him, but he’s a fighter and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his loved ones.”

Torey Krug has funny details about what he misses from Bruins' locker room

Torey Krug has funny details about what he misses from Bruins' locker room

Torey Krug is comfortably living in his home state of Michigan with his in-laws, his wife, his daughter and his dog right now amidst the coronavirus outbreak and doing his best to stay in shape while running outdoors and working out indoors.

There was no denying, though, that the Bruins defenseman is still adjusting to the abrupt pause button applied to the NHL regular season with about a month left to play ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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“As hockey players along with most people, you’re going to feel a little lost in this situation,” admitted Krug. “But first and foremost, we need to park that and put it aside and realize that there is something bigger [going on] here. If we do have the opportunity to get back playing, then let’s be safe and let’s be smart. Whether it’s the health and safety of the players of jumping right back into hockey from a competitive standpoint or continuing to practice the social distancing cues that we’ve been given, nobody wants to jump back into a situation where we put a bunch of people in one area and it takes off again.

“I hope everyone is staying safe. In some way, shape or form I think we are all connected by the coronavirus. Whether it’s somebody you know or a family member, we’re all in this together. It’s a tough situation, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. As long as we keep doing what we’re doing, hopefully we’ll see each other sooner rather than later.”

Krug has fully recovered from the upper body injury he suffered right before the season stopped and has settled into a routine every day to keep a sense of normalcy, so those are good things amidst a troubling time. But he also voiced just how much he’s missing all his Bruins teammates while confined to the current limbo everybody is living through until the coronavirus pandemic has subsided.

The picture he painted inside the B’s dressing room was a humorous one, but it also underscored just how much everybody across the country is missing out on their normal day-to-day activities while rightly practicing self-quarantining and social distancing. Krug was quick to say he doesn’t miss getting chirped daily by Brad Marchand, but he does miss many, many other things around the Bruins dressing room after the B’s players scattered.

“It’s just the normal silly stuff that we go back and forth. I’m sure I’ll get chirped for how I look on this video. Anytime something funny comes up we put it in the chat just to keep that bond going,” said Krug, of the group texting that he and his teammates are engaged in right now while spread out from each other. “We do miss the guys and that’s part of the back and forth every day. I just miss the simple conversations.

[I miss] seeing what Pasta is wearing when we walks through the [dressing room] door. [I miss] wondering what kind of mood Chris Wagner is going to be in. Or seeing Chucky [McAvoy] and his big smile walking through the door every day. Trying to make sense of what comes out of Jake DeBrusk’s mouth. There are just so many things that you miss on a daily basis [with the season on pause].

Hopefully for Krug and the rest of the Bruins, the world will soon be in a place where those day-to-day conversations can once again take place in person rather than over video conference technology as it’s been for the last month.