Could the Boston Bruins pursue Cody Franson or Dustin Byfuglien? What’s the latest on Chicago Blackhawks’ RFA Marcus Kruger? Read on for the latest.
Bruins chasing Franson or Byfuglien? Not so fast!
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty responded to a rumor from one of his readers UFA Cody Franson was close to signing with the Boston Bruins for two years, $4.7 million. While acknowledging the Bruins have the cap space to ink Franson to a $4.7 million per season deal, he claims they don’t want to enter next season pressed against the cap ceiling. Haggerty also doubts the Bruins can get him that cheaply and found it odd Franson, in a recent interview, named the Bruins among several teams he claimed were interested in signing him but not the others.
Haggerty also addressed rumors linking the Bruins to Winnipeg Jets blueliner Dustin Byfuglien, noting they would have to free up cap space to absorb his $5.2 million cap hit for next season. He also rejected one reader’s suggestion that a 2016 first-round pick and prospects “will get it done,” believing the Jets asking price will be higher than that.
To sign a UFA like Franson or acquire a blueliner like Byfuglien, Haggerty believes the Bruins will have to shed salary, perhaps by dealing a defenseman like Dennis Seidenberg. However, Seidenberg has a no-trade clause. If the Bruins make a move to add a defenseman, it’ll have closer to the start of the season. He also doesn’t rule out trading forward Chris Kelly, but feels such a move would be a salary dump.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins may have interest in Franson, but I suspect only at a reduced, short-term rate. As for Byfuglien, the only way that works is if the Jets offer up something worthwhile in return. The Jets are a playoff contender now. They’ll want something in return to help their roster for 2015-16 and beyond. And no, they won’t want Chris Kelly. For now, it appears the Jets aren’t shopping Byfuglien.
In February, Haggerty reported Seidenberg would be willing to waive his NTC if asked to by management if it was a deal that made sense for both sides. Problem is, Seidenberg was slowed last season from the aftereffects of knee surgery from the previous season. I doubt there’s much of a market for his services right now.
Update on Marcus Kruger.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Chris Kuc reports “barring an unlikely development,” restricted free agent center Marcus Kruger will return with the Blackhawks next season. Kruger’s agent, J.P. Barry, said his client is waiting for Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman to clear cap space before agreeing to terms on a new contract. Kruger didn’t file for salary arbitration. Barry wrote his camp will remain patient as Bowman looks for ways to free up cap space, acknowledging his client will have to accept a shorter-term deal later in August if sufficient cap space isn’t freed up by then. Kruger didn’t receive an offer sheet and thus has limited options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Blackhawks will trade either Bryan Bickell ($4 million per season) or Kris Versteeg ($2.2 million) to clear sufficient room to re-sign Kruger. How long his new contract will be depends upon which one gets moves. Kruger opted not to file for arbitration as he hopes to re-sign a long-term extension with the ‘Hawks. He earned an annual cap hit of $1.325 million on his previous contract.
The Blackhawks currently have around $231K in cap space. Kruger, a fourth-line center, will likely around $2.2 million annually. While he could receive an offer sheet, that’s a remote possibility at this stage in the offseason. Most teams have limited cap space at this stage in the season, while those with $10 million or more are under self-imposed cap ceilings. Those with space available are focused on re-signing their own players, not pitching offer sheets to fourth liners. Kruger seems more interested in staying with the ‘Hawks than signing with another club.