It’s been just over a month since the Stanley Cup was awarded, and the NHL offseason kicked off.
Most of the big moves have been made by now, and free agency has died down to the occasional rumor.
Most of the talking points surround the Erik Karlsson sweepstakes, Olympic participation, and salary arbitration, the latter of which is very relevant to the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins’ salary cap woes have already been discussed ad nauseum, but their ability to bring back Bergeron and Krejci greatly depends on upcoming rulings. As it stands, the B’s have just over $6m in space to sign Jeremy Swayman and Trent Frederic as RFAs.
Both have elected to go to salary arbitration, and their demands could mirror other RFAs across the league. Swayman’s closest comparison on the RFA market is Toronto goaltender Ilya Samsonov.
Samsonov filed for $4.9m, and Toronto countered with $2.4m; in all likelihood, they’ll meet somewhere around $3.5m. Swayman’s 24 wins, 2.27 GAA, and .920 sv% slightly edge Samsonov’s 27/2.33/.919%. His final figure will likely be closer to $4m.
Frederic lands somewhere in between Ross Colton and Brett Howden, both bottom-six forwards who signed pre-arbitration deals.
Colton signed a 4x$4m deal with Colorado after being traded from Tampa, and Howden re-upped with Vegas for 2x$1.9m. Frederic’s numbers are almost even with Colton’s and far ahead of Howden. Colton scored 32 points to Frederic’s 31, and both log around twelve minutes per game.
Given the similarity, he’ll likely file for close to Colton’s $4m in arbitration for Boston to counter. Even if Don Sweeney can shave that down, there isn’t much room to work with.
If either Swayman or Frederic asks for too much money, Sweeney will have to trade them for flexibility. RFA negotiation rights don’t fetch a high return, but the immediate cap space would be more valuable.