Cap Friendly indicates the Boston Bruins are sitting above the $82.5-million salary cap by $2.24 million. Some observers wonder what GM Don Sweeney will do to address this issue for the coming season.
NHL teams can exceed that ceiling by 10 percent during the off-season but must be cap compliant when the regular season begins. In the short term, Sweeney can achieve this by placing sidelined players such as Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk on long-term injury reserve to start the season.
Once those players are ready to return to the lineup sometime in November, Sweeney must find another way to ensure he's under the cap.
The Boston Globe's Matt Porter speculates defenseman Mike Reilly or winger Craig Smith could become trade candidates. Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic shared that view, pointing out the 29-year-old Reilly is among five left-shot rearguards on the Bruins blueline. A promising winger like Fabian Lysell or Oskar Steen could push the 32-year-old Smith out of the lineup.
Carrying a cap hit of $3.1 million, Smith could be the likely trade candidate. On Aug. 16, Boston Hockey Now's Jimmy Murphy reported a source claimed the Bruins had held “in-depth trade talks” with another team regarding the veteran winger.
Murphy's source told him the Bruins received a trade offer for Smith from this unnamed club. However, discussions were put on hold when common ground on a deal couldn't be reached.
Shinzawa also suggested attempting to trade veteran winger Nick Foligno if he'd agree to waive his no-trade clause or demote him. The 34-year-old winger carries an annual average value of $3.8 million but the Bruins would only get $1.125 million in cap relief by sending him to the minors.