With the Bruins past the Jarome Iginla negotiations, the draft and the development camp, Peter Chiarelli and the B’s front office have moved on to the next orders of business with a long two months ahead of them until training camp. The Bruins avoided arbitration with restricted free agent Matt Bartkowski by signing a one-year deal worth $1.25 million, according to CBC reporter Elliotte Friedman.
The Bruins and Bartkowski had a July 30 arbitration date scheduled if they couldn’t come to an agreement, but Blake Wheeler remains the only B’s player that’s ever gone to arbitration during Chiarelli’s tenure as GM. The $1.25 million salary for Bartkowski is right in the neighborhood of what was expected given his solid first full NHL season with 18 assists and a plus-22 in 64 games with the Black and Gold.
The reasonable cap hit for Bartkowski also makes him an eminently tradable commodity amidst a group of nine NHL-ready defensemen on Boston’s roster. Bartkowski, Adam McQuaid and David Warsofsky are the most likely candidates to be moved in reducing Boston’s blueliner surplus. Bartkowski would have the most trade value of the trio after showing an ability to play a top-four defenseman role in the NHL last season, and naturally swift skating legs in a league that relies on speed.
Bartkowski’s inconsistency as a 26-year-old, however, and his impending unrestricted free agency next season make him a valued asset the Bruins be willing to part with in a deal to bring in some right wing help.
With Bartkowski signed to his one year deal, the Bruins now have roughly $4.6 million in cap space –including the $4 million plus LTI exception for Marc Savard -- to sign restricted free agents Reilly Smith and Torey Krug along with another three forward spots on the NHL roster. Chiarelli said the restricted free agent signings, any potential trades and other roster moves will come with time prior to the start of training camp in September.
“I’m always working. There’s stuff going on, but it’s just not fast. There are parameters and deals talked about, and it’s just kind of pushing it along slowly,” said Chiarelli. “There’s not urgency. It may happen that it happens on the eve of training camp or two days before, because the player has to get to that camp from where he is. But it’s slow… it’s slow.”