The roster crunch is officially on for the Boston Bruins.
That’s technically a good thing, though, because it means Brad Marchand is back in the lineup, surprisingly ahead of schedule. He’ll take the ice for the first time this season on Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings. But his activation had to come with a corresponding move: the Bruins announced Thursday that in addition to activating Marchand, they’re assigning defenseman Mike Reilly to Providence.
It’s likely this is a procedural move to make room for Marchand in the short-term. The Bruins waived Reilly just before the start of the season, so, per NHL rules, they can’t waive him again until after either 10 games or 24 days. Reilly would be waiver-eligible after next Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This move will buy the Bruins some time, but they’re going to have to move someone off the roster permanently in order to fit everyone under the cap once Charlie McAvoy is eligible to return from long-term injured reserve (LTIR). Reilly may still end up being the odd man out, perhaps even via trade.
Now that the season’s in motion, another team may be more engaged in the market than they were just before the games began. For example, the Vancouver Canucks recently placed defenseman Quinn Hughes on IR and could be calling around to add blue line depth. But they’re tight against the cap, too. The Sabres have the room, and may be looking for defensive help after placing Mattias Samuelsson on IR.
MONTREAL, QC – APRIL 24: Mike Reilly #6 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at Centre Bell on April 24, 2022 in Montreal, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
This is a long way of saying the Reilly move is temporary in nature, and only the first domino to fall in what was always going to be a tricky balancing act for Bruins GM Don Sweeney. But it’s a nice problem to have. Marchand is being added to a 6-1 Bruins team that entering Thursday was tied with the Penguins for the league lead in goals (30).
Next week, things should get even more interesting.
WATCH: Brad Marchand Reacts To Return
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.