LAS VEGAS - On Tuesday, the NHL and the NHLPA announced that the salary cap for the upcoming 2015-16 season will have an upper limit of $71.4 million.
The cap is increasing from the $69 million cap for the 2014-15 campaign. The lower limit is set at $52.8 million with a midpoint of $62.1 million.
Apart from now having a firm cap number, the Bruins’ preparation for the draft and free agency won’t be altered much as a result, as the organization looks to next season.
“I mean, obviously you were sort of guessing prior, but with concrete knowledge now, I think you can continue to do planning that we had been doing with clear understanding of where you have to be,” Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney said while speaking with reporters following Tuesday’s GM meetings at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
“And we know, we've been in that general vicinity anyways, so I don’t think it came as any great surprise but it certainly didn't go down any lower the level than it did [on Tuesday], which is a bonus for us.”
It’s no secret that the Bruins have been tight against the cap, a notion brought up frequently in regard to re-signing players like defenseman Dougie Hamilton, set to become a restricted free agent on July 1.
Last Friday, on June 19, Sweeney said that he would not comment on contract negotiations. He did offer this update on Tuesday in Las Vegas, though, when asked about re-signing Hamilton.
“He’s an RFA that we’ve been having talks and discussions with and I’ll continue to have those [Wednesday] and for as long as it takes to have Dougie as part of our group,” Sweeney said. “He’s a foundational player that I’ve described before and we’re very happy that he’s a member of the Boston Bruins and I’m going to explore to get it done.”
As for the ongoing preparation for the NHL Draft on June 26 and 27 in Sunrise, Fla., Sweeney will be joining the rest of his staff in Florida early Wednesday morning.
“I’ll head to Florida [Tuesday night] on a red-eye and meet with our guys [Wednesday],” said the GM. “We had a long conference call last week about where our guys on the list were - we’re very comfortable at 14, we’ve had some discussions with other teams about jockeying positions or potentially adding draft picks, so I have to put that in the mix.”
“Doesn’t necessarily mean that’s going to happen, but we feel good about the preparation piece so far.”
Leading up to the GM meetings in Las Vegas, Sweeney had been working the phones in the lead-up to his first draft and free agency period at the helm. The in-person interactions at the meetings will prove much more beneficial.
“When you have a one-on-one with somebody, it’s one thing to throw some things against the wall on the phone and such, but when you’re talking to somebody face to face, I think you’re just a little more forthright with where you’re at,” said Sweeney. “Things move along a little quicker than opposed to, like I say, on the phone. So it’s good to have those talks. This is my first go-around face to face in this type of environment, but I felt comfortable doing it.”
Being Voted On
Other news from the meetings saw a five minute 3-on-3 overtime proposed for the 2015-16 season, as well as a possible coach’s challenge for goalie interference and offside goals.
Both maters will be discussed during the Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Agreement with McIntyre
On Tuesday, Sweeney announced that goaltender Zane McIntyre has indicated he will sign a two-year entry-level contract with Boston. McIntyre is coming off his junior season at the University of North Dakota, a season in which he reached the Frozen Four for the second straight year and won the Mike Richter Award as the top goalie in college hockey.
“Zane hasn’t officially signed with us - he’s just indicated through his agent that he will be pursuing that with us,” Sweeney reiterated.
McIntyre can sign with the team on July 1.
“But as far as his North Dakota career, Zane has been part of our system now for quite some time,” said Sweeney. “We’ve watched him grow up on and off the ice, and he’s gone on to great success in a very storied program in North Dakota and he’s ready for pro development and he’s indicated that to us. And as I said, he hasn’t signed anything, he’s just indicated that he will be exploring that with the Boston Bruins.”
Wishing Bergeron Good Luck
While Sweeney won’t be sticking around for Wednesday’s NHL Awards show at MGM Grand, that didn’t stop him from sending along his best wishes to his alternate captain, Patrice Bergeron, and his nomination for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.
“I wish him luck. He’s well deserved to be amongst that group of players to be nominated,” said Sweeney. “It’s no secret how important he is to our hockey club and how he’s viewed around the League and it’s great for him to be acknowledged in that way, so I wish him luck for [Wednesday] night.”