After signing restricted free agent defenseman Charlie McAvoy to a three-year contract worth $14.7 million Sunday, Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney now has just one RFA remaining in defenseman Brandon Carlo. McAvoy’s new contract trimmed the Bruins’ salary cap space down to $3.2 million but Sweeney didn’t seem phased when asked if that would be enough to get a deal done with the 22-year-old Carlo, who had a breakthrough season and finally stayed healthy enough to play in the playoffs last season.
“Yes,” Sweeney said bluntly and immediately when asked if he still has enough money to sign Carlo. “We have a lot of communication and we’re trying to continue to do the same thing with Brandon [as we did with McAvoy]. Every deal takes its time, and that’s my intention is to go back and work and get Brandon back in the fold as well.”
Sweeney also confirmed to the media Sunday that defenseman Kevan Miller (knee) will not be ready for the season opener October 3 in Dallas.
“Kevan’s timeline 24th I do believe, that will determine his next step in his progression of rehab and obviously we’re going to be very cautious and take the absolute necessary next steps for Kevan and full recovery before he returns to play,” Sweeney said.
With fellow blueliner John Moore (shoulder) already ruled out until late November at the earliest, will Sweeney put him and/or Miller on long-term injured reserve to free up some cap space to start the season and temporarily accommodate a new contract for Carlo?
“It depends on the term of the next deal,” Sweeney said when asked if he’d use that avenue. “We have obviously the opportunity to do that if we need to, because [John Moore] is not going to start the season. Kevan [Miller] won’t start the season either [for LTIR purposes].”
Putting both Miller ($2.5 million cap hit) and Moore ($2.7 million cap hit) on LTIR would open up $5.2 in cap space and surely would enable the Bruins to not only sign Carlo but also have a small cushion.
A call Monday to Carlo’s agent for an update was not returned.
Carlo had two goals and eight assists in 72 regular season games last season. Then in his first Stanley Cup playoff experience after being injured for the playoffs his first two seasons in the league, Carlo had two goals and two assists in 24 games. He became a major minutes eater for the Bruins in the playoffs averaging 21:31 on ice during the team’s run to Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.