posted at 9/16/2013 12:59 PM EDT
Back when we started talking about this year's roster, when it was more about how the heck they're going to be cap compliant than who plays where, I thought the options were going to be pretty slim even if it looks like there's a lot of competition.
So at the risk of veering into Stanleyland, here's my guess at how they break camp.
LuKI, Marchand-Bergeron-Eriksson, Soderberg-Kelly-Caron, Merlot. ($39.648M less $4.2M for Iginla's bonuses = $35.448M)
Chara-Boychuk, Seidenberg-Hamilton, Bartkowski-McQuaid. ($17.245M less $738K in bonus cushion for Hamilton = $16.507M)
Rask and Johnson - $7.6M Total for the roster: $59.555M (give or take). This doesn't include Savard, and it doesn't take into account the limit on how much bonus cash can be charged to the bonus cushion. If there were no additional costs, it would mean only $200K would end up on the bonus cushion. That, in turn, leaves them room to carry an extra forward (Fraser at $625K or Cunningham at $651K) and also an extra D-man (Morrow). I don't know how likely it is, but another scenario would be no spare D in Boston and Krug in Providence until New Years to bring down the impact of his deal. It also leaves room to acquire a player and minimizes the impact of te cushion on next year's cap.
I don't think the lineup will stay this way all year, but I'll be surprised if it's much different come October. The only big change i can see would be a Kelly deal because they decide Soderberg is a better pivot on that line and they want to get Smith/Reilly/Spooner the ice.