PHILADELPHIA -- As much as the Boston Bruins and veteran right wing Jarome Iginla want to continue their affiliation, general manager Peter Chiarelli knows the NHL salary cap might get in the way of their partnership advancing beyond this month.
"Jarome wants to stay and we're trying to find a spot for him, but we're both big boys; if we can't, we can't," Chiarelli said Friday morning. "Certainly we're both trying to work at it."
Chiarelli made his comments before the NHL officially set the salary cap for the 2014-15 season at $69 million. That figure could be problematic for the Bruins, whose cap figure will be reduced by $4.75 million, according to CapGeek.com, because of bonus overages, most notably owed to Iginla, that carry into 2014-15.
With payroll limits set, Boston has less than $2 million in cap space, according to CapGeek.com. They also must re-sign a handful of restricted free agents, including forwards Reilly Smith and Jordan Caron as well as defensemen Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski.
"This is not about what [Iginla] wants and what he should do and what morally he should do. It's nothing about that," Chiarelli said. "This is about can we find room to fit him in. That's what it's about."
The Bruins would have an easier time re-signing Iginla and keeping his salary-cap charge at a reduced rate if he was willing to agree to another one-year, bonus-laden contract. He was on a one-year, bonus-laden contract last season that carried a cap charge of $1.8 million, but he was eligible for $4.2 million in bonuses that were tacked on to Boston's 2014-15 salary cap.
Bonus-laden contracts are available to players who are 35 and older, but can only carry a term of one year. Iginla, who will turn 37 on July 1, will likely be able to get a multi-year contract with a higher salary-cap charge from another team that isn't under the same cap constraints as Boston.
Iginla's agent, Don Meehan, is reportedly talking to other teams now to get a better indication of what might be available for Iginla on July 1. The veteran forward scored 30 goals and had 61 points last season playing on a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
"That doesn't surprise me that he's talking to other teams," Chiarelli said.
SOG: 209 | +/-: 34
"When they see all this talk about Iginla, it's like, 'Yeah, Chiarelli is going to have to move someone,'" Chiarelli said, laughing. "There's a lot of them. They want to help out. They all want to help the Bruins. I'd be doing the same thing if it was going the other way."
Chiarelli said all is not lost if the Bruins can't re-sign Iginla, because his sense is some of Boston's younger forwards might be ready for bigger roles.
"With Jarome or that type of player, it would obviously be better, but we've got some players that are going to come up and bubble up," Chiarelli said. "I always like that energy and enthusiasm these guys bring. I feel good. Our younger guys are getting better. We're still in a real good spot, as far as contending."
That said, Chiarelli saw how well Iginla fit with the Bruins last season and he definitely wants him back.
"I'd like to have that right shot and [Iginla's] right shot is good," he said. "If you look at our right side, we've got two lefties right now. You see how he plays; he plays a Bruins style of game."