There's been word that the NHL has submitted a counter proposal to the NHLPA (which makes #5 now?) that includes two amnesty clauses in the new CBA. For those who don't know what an amnesty clause is, it allows teams to eliminate a bad contract (or two) under certain conditions. I believe this is also cap-penalty free, but the particulars aren't known.
Again, this is just a RUMOR, but rumors like this are fun to talk about.
I would love to see a guy like Milan Lucic get axed from his big ass contract, but it's obvious that Boston would not take a player with some value and cut them from the roster no matter what they are being paid. I think this means we can eliminate these players:
After the jump, let's break this bad boy down...
You may disagree with some of those strikes, so lets go through everyone.
David Krejci has some trade value, despite the fact he's going to make (I say make, not earn) $5.25M a year for the next three years. If the Bruins were to decide they have had enough of Krejci and his ghostly-type play, a team would trade for him.
Patrice Bergeron is a no-brainer. Leader in the locker room, Selke winner and can play both sides of the ice well.
Milan Lucic is pretty much in the same boat despite my feelings for him. Boston loves the guy and it was evident with the $6M a year contract they gave him that will begin in the 2013-2014 season. It makes the one time 30 goal scorer the highest paid forward and second highest paid Bruin. For whatever reason, people are okay with his play but I don't think he deserves to be paid like a #1 forward when he isn't a #1 forward.
Nathan Horton is a guy Boston will keep, but he has a concussion history. I think the only reason Boston wouldn't use this amnesty clause on him is because he has one year left in his contract before he hits free agency. If his contract was longer and there were lingering issues, there's a chance Boston could cut him loose.
Tyler Seguin. Well, duh.
Brad Marchand is making $2.5M this year, then $4.5M a year for four years after that. I think the Bruins enjoy his pest-type role and I don't think they want to break up the Seguin/Bergeron/Marchand line that has played so well the past couple of years.
Zdeno Chara. Well, duh.
Dennis Seidenberg is a steal at his position for the amount of money he's making.
Dougie Hamilton. Well, duh.
Tuukka Rask is the potential goalie of the future. Signed a very good deal this offseason, keeps his RFA status at the end and it seems this contract is a "try out" contract to see if he can be "the guy" going forward.
Anton Khudobin has a small contract.
So those are the guys I feel Boston would keep and why. The rest of the list is obviously the potential goodbyes. I think the Bruins would use one of the clauses on Tim Thomas. The guy is going to make $5M to sit on his ass and have it count against the salary cap. $5M can net you something of use this season, so I think Boston tells Thomas "thanks but no thanks" and axes his contract.
So we have one clause left for that list of players. I think we can cut out Marc Savard since his money doesn't count against the cap.
Rich Peverley is 30 years old and has scored 20+ goals once. He's also only played 60+ games twice. Last season Peverley played 57 games and scored 11 goals on a road to recovery from an MCL sprain. Peverley recently signed a contract that will pay him $3.25M a year for the next 3 years, which a little concerning because he's never really produced in a Bruins uniform.
Chris Kelly is another candidate. He's 32 years old, just signed a 4 year, $12M contract and is basically used on the third line and for killing penalties. He's scored 20+ goals once (this past season with 20) but is pretty durable because he's played 80+ games 5 of his 9 seasons in the NHL. Still, the problem here could be the length of the contract more than the money in the contract.
Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, Shawn Thornton are just 4th liners. While I doubt anyone would call their contracts an albatross, you never know what a GM would be thinking. There's not much value for any of these guys on the market so if the Bruins were hard pressed to get rid of one (and I doubt they would be) the clause could be used on one of them.
Johnny Boychuk signed a contract that made a lot of fans scratch their head. He'll be the second highest paid defenseman this season and is set to learn $3,336,667 a season for the next 3 seasons. The issue here is that Boychuk isn't the second best defenseman on the team. In fact, you could argue that he is #4 behind Chara (duh), Seidenberg (duh) and Ference. So why pay a defenseman so much when he barely cracks your second pairing? There's also the case for his pinches, which seemingly leaves his partner alone on an island and happens way to much. I could see Chiarelli giving this the ole "whoopsie" and axing the contract, though I'm sure he wouldn't want to lose a young defenseman in the process.
Andrew Ference is probably the least likely of this group to get it due to the fact he has 1 year left on his contract. Ference, though, is 32 years old and isn't a beacon for fitness as he's often injured. His injury bug hasn't been terrible in Boston lately, but since being traded to Boston he played: 80 (54 in Calgary, 26 in Boston), 59, 47, 51, 70 and 72 games per season.
Adam McQuaid could just be for health reasons. Again, I doubt Boston even thinks of him.
In the end, I think Boston would use the amnesty clause on Thomas and leave the rest of the roster in tact. If they were hard pressed to use the second one, I think it would go to Chris Kelly, but he's a Chiarelli guy and Chiarelli loves his guys.