NHL free agents: Jarome Iginla (finally) joins the Boston Bruins
By Allan Muir
Apparently there were no hard feelings.
After spurning them at the trade deadline for a chance to play with Pittsburgh, Jarome Iginla has agreed on a one-year, $6 million deal with the Boston Bruins.
There are strings attached to the cash, however. According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, he'll earn $1.8 million in base salary with $3.7 million available as a games-played bonus as well as $500,000 as a goal scoring/team playoff performance bonus.
The construction of the deal is clever, but isn't without risk. The low base salary leaves Boston GM Peter Chiarelli plenty of room to get a deal done with restricted free agent goalie Tuukka Rask, and possibly add one more player up front. But it might also prevent the team from putting injured center Marc Savard on long term injured reserve because it could expose the team to bonus overages in 2014-15, which would be heavily penalized.
Still, the deal potentially salvages what was shaping up to be a lousy day for both parties. The Bruins had been in the running for several wingers, including Daniel Alfredsson and Michael Ryder, only to be rejected at the last minute. And Iginla, whose hopes of being a top-level free agent this summer were dashed by an indifferent performance in the playoffs, finally found someone willing to give him a chance to prove he still has something to contribute at 36.
Even after that sluggish effort, a one-year, bonus-laden contract had to be a bitter pill for Iginla to swallow...unless he felt he owed the Bruins something. Since Iginla plays a slower game, he's likely slated for the top line with David Krecji and Milan Lucic, while Loui Eriksson will skate on the right side with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Playing his natural position should make him more comfortable than he was in Pittsburgh, but Iginla also has to assert himself, both on the ice and in the locker room. The talk out of Pittsburgh suggests he was too deferential to the team's superstars, and that prevented him from establishing his presence. Should be an interesting challenge for Boston coach Claude Julien to get the most out of the future Hall of Famer.