The Boston Bruins still have two more important restricted free agents, defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, left to sign before the 2019-20 season begins.
A month has passed since NHL free agency started, and while the Bruins would love to sign these players before training camp, there is a possibility one or both defensemen won't have a contract when September's training camp practices roll around.
"We do have to plan and prepare for these players to not be at camp opening day," Bruins president Cam Neely told NBC Sports Boston's Joe Haggerty in an exclusive interview Thursday.
"But we have five, six weeks hopefully to get something done. We feel like we should be able to get something done with both of these guys at numbers that make sense for us, and hopefully makes sense for them. I think we've done a really good job of kind of managing the cap and making sure that we're OK to get these guys done."
McAvoy is unable to be tendered an offer sheet because he has less than three seasons of NHL service time. He doesn't have much leverage. The Boston University product can sign a new contract or he can hold out. Both McAvoy and the Bruins must decide which route they want to go. We sometimes see teams sign players in McAvoy's situation to a short-term "bridge" contract, after which a long-term deal would be the next step. Another scenario is locking up McAvoy to a long-term contract right now.
Carlo is coming off his rookie contract, and although he's not on the same level as McAvoy talent-wise, he does deserve a nice raise following a solid Year 3 in the NHL.
Restricted free agents must be signed by Dec. 1 to play that season.
The Bruins have $7,294,167 in salary cap space as of Thursday, per CapFriendly.
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