When the Boston Bruins finished out their season with a disappointing loss to the Montreal Canadiens, we figured some changes would be coming. The team was pressed with a tough salary cap, and we knew the roster was going to get shaken up. While the organization had a lot of tough choices to make, did the Black and Gold make the best possible choices?
The Bruins keeping Matt Bartkowski certainly surprised many of us. He’s a player that ranks between sixth and eighth on most Bruins fans defensive depth charts. While he certainly didn’t do a terrible job taking over for the injured Dennis Seidenberg, he was responsible for key penalties and errors that helped the Canadiens beat us in the second round of the playoffs.
Bartkowski filed for salary arbitration and a lot of us assumed that would be it. (Granted, if the Bruins just let him go it would have deprived them of any form of compensation. They wouldn’t have been able to use him in a trade for at least a draft pick down the road.) Then the Bruins organization decided to forego arbitration and signed him to a one year, one and a quarter million dollar deal. Torey Krug, who had a much better season than Bartkowski is still without a deal.
The Bruins organization has been touting its desire to look toward younger players this season. It was one of the reasons why the Black and Gold chose not to re-sign Bruins’ enforcer (and fan favorite) Shawn Thornton to a deal for next season. It was widely assumed that the his replacement would come from the AHL Providence franchise. With a plethora of choices available to the Bruins, they chose to resign thirteenth forward Jordan Caron.
(Once again, had the Bruins let him go, they would have gotten nothing for him.)
Jordan Caron is by no means a terrible player. I think his only crime is that the front office and the fans thought he would be another Patrice Bergeron. He spent the last year as the thirteenth forward for Boston. He’s now in his fifth year with organization. If he’s going to make the roster this is (likely) his last year to do so. Caron still wants to play in Boston. “I want to make that step and … have a bigger role and really be a good player in (the NHL), and I think I can do it,” said Caron in a phone interview in Quebec. “It’s my job to keep getting better over the summer, get into camp and be ready to win that kind of role.”
Reilly Smith, who really took off this year in Boston is also without a deal.
Peter Chiarelli has been known to make solid trades for the Bruins in the past. Perhaps retaining these guys are part of his plan. Maybe he sees something more in them that we as the fans don’t see. Maybe he’s going to dangle them out as bait for a team that’s on the verge of making the playoffs but need more NHL ready talent. Either way the die gets cast, I’d like him to stop surprising us like this.