Carl Soderberg appears to be the latest salary cap casualty for the Bruins. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Carl Soderberg appears to be the latest casualty of the Bruins’ salary cap crunch.
The 29-year-old center had 13 goals and 31 assists this year while playing in all 82 games. Soderberg will be looking for a big pay day as an unrestricted free agent.
The Bruins have just 16 players signed on their current roster and project to have $6.531 million in cap space remaining. Don Sweeney, preparing for his first NHL draft as general manager, knows he’s up against it.
“We’re trying to plan for every circumstance that may exist,” Sweeney said. “Carl was a very important part of our team this year. In a perfect world, we would be able to retain Carl. It’s highly unlikely at this point in time that that will be happening relative to our overall situation.”
With that eventuality in mind, the Bruins signed forward Joonas Kemppainen on May 21 to a one-year, two-way contract which would be worth a cap figure of $700,000 at the NHL level.
The 27-year-old played 59 games for Oulun KÃ¤rpÃ¤t in the Finnish Elite League during the 2014-15 season and recorded 11 goals, 21 assists and a plus-15 rating. In 19 playoff games for KÃ¤rpÃ¤t this year, the forward potted 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points with a plus-14 rating. Kemppainen also competed in this year’s IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship where he ranked third on the Finnish team in goals (three), second in assists (six) and second in points (nine) in eight games played.
“I think Joonas represents a player of similar nature, similar skill set. He’s a big strong player. He’s responsible. He’s 27 years old so he’s been through the pro ranks and he’s ready for it. He’s got some heaviness to his game. Look at his offensive production, it was pretty darned good this year in particular but really the last couple of year, he’s been very, very consistent and he rolled that right over to world championship, where again he was both very reliable, accountable as a two-player but also produced offensively, which is huge, huge for us.”
As for other UFA such as Matt Bartkowski and defenseman Adam McQuaid, Sweeney announced they may or may not join Greg Campbell and Daniel Paille as cap casualties for 2015-16.
“Peter [Chiarelli] had told Greg Campbell and Danny Paille that they weren’t [returning]. I have not changed that,” Sweeney said. “I have not completely conveyed but have spoken to both Carl and Matt’s representatives and I’ve also spoken to Adam in terms of what our intentions are. Obviously, it’s coming down to the wire in terms of their abilities to interview elsewhere. So, I have been in communication with them, yes.
“I’ve had several talks with teams that may or may not present the opportunity to be able to bring one of those players back. I can guarantee at this point in time that all three [Soderberg, Bartkowski, McQuaid] of them won’t be back.”
All of this doesn’t even include the uncertainty surrounding the future financial impact of signing Dougie Hamilton, who as a restricted free agent, could be getting a huge payday, as our DJ Bean pointed out. Sweeney said negotiations are ongoing with Hamilton’s representatives but those talks are not getting in the way of doing business.
“We’re not in a free agency period at this time so I don’t think it’s holding things up at all,” Sweeney said Friday. “I’m not going to comment on the actual negotiation side of it but I don’t think it’s holding things up in any regard.”