NHL Notebook: Looking ahead at another major hurdle for Bruins – Seattle’s expansion draft

(Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

We aren’t breaking any new ground when we say that Don Sweeney and the Bruins have their work cut out for them in the coming months — to put it lightly. 

To be fair, the B’s are far from the only dogs in the fight against the most pressing issue gripping both the NHL and the world — the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has ground just about everything to a halt. 

Measures have been taken by both the league and teams in an effort to protect players and curtail the spread of COVID-19 — with the hope of potentially resuming play later this spring. 

*If* such a best-case scenario were to play out, Sweeney and the Bruins would then still be tasked with the looming challenge that has hung over them for a better part of a year — avenge last year’s crushing playoff defeat loss and hoist the Stanley Cup. 

Smooth sailing isn’t exactly guaranteed beyond the maelstrom that has been the 2019-20 NHL campaign. 

The Bruins are set to benefit from a nice bump in the cap ceiling for next year, with the $81.5 million soaring to a figure between $84 to $88.2 million for the 2020-21 season. That sizable chunk of change will come in handy as Boston looks to re-up Torey Krug and seven other free agents this summer, although this current stoppage and the subsequent lost revenue do make it seem as though next year’s cap bump will be on the lower end of those projections.

Still, freeing themselves from a majority of David Backes’ $6 million cap hit and another $3 million in dead money should have Boston not limited by the same salary crunch that kept RFAs in Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy out of the first few days of training camp this year. 

All things considered, Boston will be able to get most of the band back together in 2021 and beyond for a couple more runs at some championship hardware. 

That’s good news for the B’s — and very, very good news for NHL Seattle GM Ron Francis, who likely will be licking his chops at the chance to pry a valuable player from this Bruins’ core in the following summer.