The Boston Bruins placed forward Craig Smith on waivers over the weekend, but no other team decided to claim the 33-year-old.
According to multiple reports Monday, Smith, along with everyone else placed on waivers Sunday, ended up clearing. The Bruins now have the option to assign him to Providence in the AHL, which over the course of the season would create approx. $1.1 million in salary cap space, per current NHL waiver rules. The daily cap relief is minimal in this case, but the B’s could use all the space they can get; they’re at about $33,693, according to CapFriendly.
The Bruins have until midnight on Monday to assign Smith to the AHL, before the NHL’s holiday roster freeze takes effect. The freeze lasts until 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28. So, the B’s still have a chance to clear a little cap space by sending Smith down over the holidays.
Jan 15, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Craig Smith (12) during the second period against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
If the Bruins do intend to send Smith down, it appears they will try to get one more game out of him before that point. He was on the ice for the Bruins at Monday’s morning skate, and head coach Jim Montgomery confirmed to reporters that he will deploy the same lineup that he did on Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, meaning Smith will be on the ice for Boston Monday night against the Florida Panthers.
Smith in Providence would join defenseman Mike Reilly, who was sent down for the same cap-clearing reasons. Both can still be traded, but the fact they cleared waivers shows that other teams aren’t interested in assuming their full cap hits (Smith $3.1 million, Reilly $3 million). So, the B’s may still have to keep some of Smith or Reilly’s cap numbers in a swap, or attach them to relatively high draft picks in order to get a team to take the whole contract.
This is a long way of saying that the Bruins have to do a Simone Biles level of cap gymnastics as the season progresses. Remember that Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci entered the season with a combined $4.5 million in performance bonuses on their one-year deals, so there may need to be room for those transactions to take place. Sorry if this all gave you a headache. Just understand that the Bruins are kind of strapped for cash right now.
Fortunately, the Bruins are also very, very good. Even with some relatively shaky performances in recent days, they are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, and remain in first place in the Atlantic Division with 50 points and an .833 point percentage. They’re on pace for 136 points.
They have a chance to get back at the Panthers on Monday night at TD Garden, after they lost 5-2 to them in Sunrise back on Nov. 23. Puck drops just after 7 p.m. ET. You can get the call of the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub, starting with pregame at 6:30.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.