The other shoe that was always expected to drop for the Boston Bruins final did this week as the end of the NHL regular season ushered in the salary cap forecasts for next year. And the B’s will be paying a heavy tab for the one-year, incentive-laden contracts that both Patrice Bergeron ($2.5 million in bonus money) and David Krejci ($2 million in bonus money) signed this season that were considered team-friendly “bargains” because of the low base salaries on the one-year deals.
15 Teams incurred Performance Bonus overages from this year which will be a bonus carryover cap hit for 23-24.#NHLBruins lead the way with a $4.5M bonus overage #FueledbyPhilly & #GoHabsGo next with $1.1M+
Check out full list and recap:https://t.co/pDj3rCo0Lz
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) April 21, 2023
The problem with those deals was always going to be the following season when they were going to have to absorb those costs on the salary cap, a $4.5 million penalty that’s essentially going to cost them a quality veteran player on their NHL roster. The NHL salary cap is projected to only rise $1 million next season to $83.5 million, which means there are going to be some very real salary cap implications for the Black and Gold this summer with a number of players hitting restricted and unrestricted free agency including Bergeron, Krejci, Connor Clifton, Trent Frederic, Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway, Nick Foligno, Tyler Bertuzzi, Tomas Nosek and Jeremy Swayman.
Part of the season it’s also felt unlikely that Bergeron and Krejci were going to play beyond this season is because it’s going to be too challenging to build Stanley Cup-caliber roster depth carrying around such a big penalty while trying to keep the pieces together from this year’s team.
There was a thought it wouldn’t just be Bergeron and Krejci on the B’s tab, however, as several young Boston Bruins players were close to hitting bonus money on their entry level deals as well, but the bulk of the cap penalty for next season was about making one last run with Boston’s veteran group. The Bruins weren’t alone in being forced to paying bonus overages on next season’s salary cap, but they will be paying out the biggest amount in one of those categories that nobody really wants to lead the league in entering a new season.
There were a record 15 NHL teams that will be paying bonus overages next season, which breaks last season’s record of 14 NHL teams on the hook for bonus overage charges, per our friends at PuckPedia.
The one thing the Black and Gold can obviously do is win the Stanley Cup this season, which would make paying next season’s penalty feel worth it as the cost of doing business for building the best regular season teams in NHL history.