Jarome Iginla proved last season that if given the ice time, his natural position and linemates with whom he clicks that he can be a 30-goal scorer in the NHL at 37 years old.
The question now becomes what that performance gets him, and what Iginla wants as his playing years continue to dwindle.
The Boston Bruins want him back, and there’s obviously mutual interest. But the salary cap is a thing that exists, and it might prevent that relationship from continuing if Iginla wants something long-term and lucrative. From the Boston Globe:
They are already facing a bonus overage penalty, estimated to be around $4.5 million, for 2014-15. With the salary cap projected to be approximately $70 million, the Bruins will be forbidden from approaching the ceiling because of their penalty, the bulk of which stems from the $3.7 million in bonuses Iginla totaled as a first-year Bruin.
So while Iginla deserves a multiyear deal, it would be difficult for him to get it in Boston. The Bruins could offer Iginla a similar bonus-stuffed contract as a 35-or-older player. But such structure is allowed only on one-year deals.
So Jarome Iginla’s bonus money might prevent Jarome Iginla from getting a long-term deal in Boston. Oh, you cheeky Hockey Gods …
The Bruins’ cap situation is precarious. They have to carve out money for Iginla as well as RFAs Reilly Smith and Torey Krug from an estimated $8 million in space (via WEEI), with 18 players signed. What do you do? Trade Brad Marchand and not get equal value back? That’s not going to happen.
The biggest problem here for Boston is the potential waiting game for Iginla. Darren Dreger believes the Detroit Red Wings would be “in the mix” for his services if Boston can’t punch his ticket. And while that might be considered blasphemy for those who consistently overrate the Bruins’ chances, it’s a great opportunity for Iginla to, again, mesh with a few great offensive players to form a dominant line. If Boston dwaddles and another team comes in with a 3-year deal, what then?
If Iginla can come in at 1-year and $5.5 million or below, the Bruins could conceivably keep him. Any higher, or longer, and it might have been one glorious year for Iggy in Beantown – and one gaping hole on the team’s top line.