This morning, the two young free agents each signed one-year deals said to be worth $1.4 million, ending long contract stalemates in a manner that couldn't be friendlier to the cap-strapped Boston Bruins.
The Bruins were already $800,000 over the salary cap according to Capgeek.com, so these deals put them $3.6 million over the ceiling. But Boston GM Peter Chiarelli can move Marc Savard and his $4 million onto long-term injured reserve on opening night (Oct. 8), meaning the B's can slide in just under the mark without having to deal a key component like defenseman Johnny Boychuk.
The Bruins will, however, have to play send a few players down to the AHL, at least on paper, before the opener in order to make the Savard move. That means you can expect Dougie Hamilton, presumptive backup goalie Niklas Svedberg, and one or two more players to be "cut" before being recalled.
Chiarelli may also look to create a little more breathing room by dumping the contract of defenseman Matt Bartkowski to protect himself in case of injury by creating more room, but he no longer has to make a deal under duress. It's a remarkable bit of managing that keeps a Stanley Cup contender intact in Boston, even if it could cost Chiarelli a little more when the valuable Krug and Smith need to be resigned next summer.