The Bruins currently have 9 forwards, 5 defensemen and 2 goalies under contract for next season. They have 4 players from the roster last season who are RFA: Kessel, Hunwick, Bitz and Sobotka. With the addition of Glen Murray's buyout, the Bruins only have a little over $3M in cap space.
It will be impossible for them to retain Kessel at $3M exact. They have to move some contracts. One could speculate that Marco Sturm, Patrice Bergeron and Phil Kessel are the most likely candidates to be moved.
They have $52.5M vested in 17 players (11F-5D-1G), leaving them with only a little over $4M to round out the rest of their roster. They only have one significant RFA to re-sign, Ryan Parent (D).
Two summers from now in 2011, both Gagne and Carter will be UFA. Next summer, Pronger will be an UFA and Coburn will be an RFA. Philly has to make a move.
Lombardi's opportunity to strike is now. He has plenty of attractive assets to move and these teams are at a disadvantage. The Kings have the leverage to make a deal that will greatly benefit the team now without having to make a huge splash in free agency.
I believe that it is very possible for the Kings land one of Bergeron or Kessel or Gagne without giving up a player in their top six.
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i played poker with Kessels father last year at the Mirage in vegas and we talked about the kings. he said that he liked the direction the team is going and apparently Phil would like to play with Kopitar. But he did mention that it will be difficult to sign with LA because (i didnt know this at the time) he is going to be a RFA and not a UFA. i told him that i thought that would be amazing and that his son looks like he would be a great player. btw, i met mrs. kessel too. nice lady. she just seem to spend a lil too much time in the pools.
Guys there is no way the Kings are trading for Kessel or Bergeron. Kessel only plays RW and every fan in Boston would revolt if they trade Bergeron. And besides we're already deep at C and RW. If the Kings trade for anybody it will be Sturm.
As for Philly, the only guys we would be legitimately interested in are Gagne, Hartnell, Carle, or Coburn. Gagne, Hartnell and Coburn aren't happening.
And for those who call Kessel soft. He played the entire second round with a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum. This year he finally started playing D too.