LEOMINSTER — Just a couple more weeks stand in the way of the start of training camp over at Warrior Ice Arena, but the primary offseason objective for the Boston Bruins remains unchecked upon glancing over Don Sweeney’s annual to-do list.
Sign Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo — both restricted free agents — to new deals.
It’s a task that’s easier said than done, especially when factoring in Boston’s current cap situation (with around $8.1 million to work with) and the multiple ways in which these new contracts could vary in both term and average annual value — especially for McAvoy, who might be best suited for a bridge deal with more cap space and potential earnings on the horizon in another three or four years.
And while Sweeney has noted from the final weeks of June all the way to Thursday afternoon in Leominster that there would be no set timetable when it came to negotiations with McAvoy/Carlo this summer, the lack of movement on the RFA front, league-wide is certainly startling, given that preseason action is right around the corner.
As of Friday morning, these RFAs have still yet to ink a new deal with their respective clubs:
The game of chicken between NHL franchises and the next crop of top NHL talent doesn’t appear to be wrapping up any time soon, even for clubs with some breathing room in terms of cap space, such as the Avalanche ($15.6 million free, per CapFriendly.)
But Sweeney and the Bruins are no stranger to the waiting game when it comes to RFAs, even if this current deadlock between Boston and McAvoy/Carlo seems poised to carry on through the final weeks of the summer.
While Sweeney and the Bruins haven’t had to deal with the Threat-Level-Midnight scenario that is December 1 — AKA the deadline for an RFA to sign with the team before not being eligible to play for the remainder of the year — Boston has had a few recent negotiations carry over into the preseason, and almost later.
Before signing an extremely team-friendly six-year, $40 million contract with the Bruins, David Pastrnak seemed set to miss the start of training camp as part of ongoing negotiations, but ultimately signed on the dotted line on the day that camp opened on September 14, 2017.
After his three-year, entry-level contract expired, Torey Krug did not re-sign with Boston until October 5, 2014 — agreeing to a one-year, $1.4 million extension just three days before the 2014-15 campaign got underway.
So, fair to say, Sweeney isn’t exactly sweating the current situation with McAvoy and Carlo, telling BostonSportsJournal.com that the calendar creeping towards September doesn’t do much to accelerate the already steady line of communication established between all parties.