B's, Canucks provide cap blueprints

Free agent signings like Thomas and Chara account for only one-fourth of each Stanley Cup team. Steve Babineau/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks spent every last cap dollar this season, and it looks like they got what they paid for.

The Bruins and Canucks, set to do battle in the Stanley Cup finals starting Wednesday, both maxed out the NHL's $59.4 million salary cap and were among the NHL's highest-spending teams.

If other teams are looking for a financial blueprint to follow, the rosters of the Bruins and Canucks have remarkable similarities (see table at right). Both spent around $6.25 million total on goaltenders, between $2.7 million and $2.8 million on each defenseman, and between $2.1 million and $2.2 million on each forward.

But neither team went out and bought its roster on the free agent market. Free agent signings account for only about a quarter of each team, with six on the Bruins and seven on the Canucks. Among those, only Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas and Dan Hamhuis are free agents you can reasonably categorize as cornerstones.