BREAKING: What this could mean for Bruins RFA forward

In a recent development, the Colorado Avalanche and their newly acquired center, Ross Colton, managed to steer clear of arbitration by finalizing a lucrative 4-year, $16 million contract.

This agreement brings about a positive outcome for both Colton and the organization, particularly after the departure of J.T. Compher via free agency.

Examining Colton's statistics, one might question the hefty payday compared to his counterpart, Trent Frederic. Both players were drafted in 2016 as natural centers, with Frederic being a first-round pick and Colton a fourth-rounder.

Frederic, like Colton, is also eligible for arbitration, with the scheduled meeting set for August 1st.

Colton has amassed 47 goals and 36 assists for a total of 83 points in his 190 NHL games, while Frederic holds 29 goals, 25 assists, and 54 points across 198 NHL games.

However, it's worth noting that Colton's production experienced a decline in the 2022-23 season compared to the previous one, with a difference of 22 goals (down to 16).

Consequently, his overall point total dropped by seven. Should this be a cause for concern? Certainly not. Yet, it does offer insight into the type of player the Tampa Bay Lightning chose to move on from.

On the other hand, Frederic enjoyed a career-best year, showcasing significant improvement in all statistical categories this past season (17 goals, 14 assists, 31 points, compared to 8 goals, 10 assists, 18 points in 2021-22).

This suggests that Frederic may be evolving into a valuable bottom-six scoring option for the Boston Bruins.

So, what's the current roadblock? CapFriendly reveals that the Boston Bruins only have $5.4 million remaining in salary cap space. Both Frederic and promising goaltender Jeremy Swayman are heading to arbitration, while Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are yet to provide a definitive answer regarding their futures.

General Manager Don Sweeney must proceed with caution in light of these circumstances. Regardless of Sweeney's personal opinion on Frederic's worthiness of a contract similar to Colton's, the financial reality simply doesn't allow for it.

Ideally, the Bruins and Frederic would find a way to bypass arbitration entirely. According to Puckpedia, agreements between players and teams can only be reached prior to the initial arbitration hearing, with subsequent negotiations dependent on the arbitrator's decision.

Although time remains, Colton's deal certainly adds complexity to the situation.

Source: insidetherink