Tuesday, May 26, 2009
A look at the RFAs for the 2008-2009 offseason
The Bruins big RFAs, Phil Kessel and David Krejci

The NHL offseason is a time where teams try to make themselves better, but unfortunately, large salaries and constant player movement restrict this from happening. The Boston Bruins, and especially owner Jeremy Jacobs, are known for their penny pinching ways and have built a successful team (virtually) through their farm system.

Currently, the Bruins are going into the offseason with four restricted free agents (RFA) on their roster. The two biggest names on that list are Phil Kessel and David Krejci, but also are the names of crucial role players Matt Hunwick and Byron Bitz.

The biggest concern amongst the Bruins faithful is trying to re-sign both Kessel and Krejci to a deal that will not only keep them in a black and gold sweater for the long term, but also be cap friendly enough to sign some Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA). Is that possible? I have no idea. I am not sure the type of deal either Kessel or Krejci wants, however I can see Kessel trying to make a run at a high level contract.

What I am about to say may piss some people off, but I don’t think Kessel is worth a large contract. Sure, he scored 30+ goals, which was the highest for the Bruins since Patrice Bergeron’s sophomore year, but does that mean he should be given the king’s ransom?

The current RFA compensation table for 2008-2009 is:


Compensation Due:

$863,156 of less


$863,156 - $1,307,811

Third Round Pick

$1,307,811 - $2,615,623

Second Round Pick

$2,615,623 - $3,923,434

First and Third Round Pick

$3,923,434 - $5,231,246

First, Second and Third Round Pick

$5,231,246 - $6,539,061

Two 1st's, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick

Courtesy of NHLSCAP.com

So what happens if/when another team signs Kessel ($850K) or Krejci ($825K)? Well in terms of compensation, nothing. In fact, the Bruins wouldn’t be compensated if any of their RFAs (Hunkwick and Bitz included) decide to play for another team.

Essentially these players are unrestricted free agents should they decline to sign with Boston OR Boston doesn't offer a tender by June 30. To my knowledge, there is no system in the NHL that allows a team to match a qualifying offer from another team (much like the NBA RFA system).

So what does Boston have to do? The simple answer is to sign Kessel and Krejci. The harder answer is that they have to present a contract to them by June 30 or they become unrestricted free agents, then provide some sort of cap friendly (and hopefully long) contract that wont prohibit the Bruins from making some sorely needed moves to their defensive corps.

Can it be done? Sure. Will it be done? I guess we will find out after June 30.

Coming up later will be a look at the Bruins current UFAs and also potential UFAs on the market.

All contract information was supplied by NHLNumbers.com


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