Much of what Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli does this summer hinges on what happens with forward Jarome Iginla. It sounds as if that issue might be resolved one way or another very soon.
The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa reported Tuesday that Iginla — who is an unrestricted free agent — will meet with Chiarelli at this weekend’s NHL draft in Philadelphia.
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The sides have been in talks about a new contract for a while, but Boston’s complicated salary-cap situation undoubtedly has made striking a deal a little more difficult. The Bruins don’t have much room, in part because the bonuses Iginla reached last season will count against the cap in 2014-15.
Iginla scored 30 goals in his first season with the Bruins and certainly played well enough to warrant a multiyear contract with guaranteed money. However, the Bruins’ best bet to re-sign Iginla is to sign him to another bonus-laden contract like they did last summer.
“I’m not going to comment specifically on negotiations,” Chiarelli said in a conference call with reporters Monday. “We’d like to sign Jarome, and that’s what I can say. I mean, he has been a valuable player for us, I think there is a good fit and we’d like to sign him. So I’m not going to, with all due respect, I’m not going to comment on negotiations. So, that’s what I can say.”
While the Bruins are Iginla’s top priority at the moment, he’s ready to start meeting with other teams if no deal is reached with the B’s, according to Shinzawa.
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The Detroit Red Wings reportedly are among the teams with interest in signing Iginla if he doesn’t re-sign with Boston.