Boston Bruins Demote Veteran Winger To Providence Bruins

Bruins seek salary cap relief in an unsurprising move

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The Boston Bruins parted ways with a veteran of the team, at least for now.

The Bruins made a somewhat unsurprising move Tuesday when they announced that they have assigned veteran winger Craig Smith to Providence after he cleared waivers Monday afternoon.

Despite being on waivers yesterday afternoon Smith was still in the lineup in Boston’s 7-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. Smith did not factor into the Bruins’ scoring outburst, tallying just one shot on goal in 10:33 of ice time. Smith signed a three-year $9.3 million contract with Boston in October of 2020 after a nine-year stint with the Nashville Predators.

After impressing in his first two seasons, Smith has seen a downtick in his play with the 33-year-old winger playing in just 18 of Boston’s 31 games this season prior to be waived. In those 18 games Smith tallied just one goal and three assists, while playing less than 10 minutes a night.

It remains to be seen if Smith will be back with the Bruins after the NHL Holiday transaction freeze. The Bruins are able to accrue salary cap relief by having Smith’s $3.3 million cap hit in Providence over the Holiday. Boston currently has just $33,000 left in cap space according to Bruins Cap Space on Twitter.

Boston will be without Smith for their final two games before Christmas. The Bruins will be at home against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday and cap off the second leg of a back-to-back on Friday in New Jersey where they take on the New Jersey Devils. In his absence, Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery will likely turn to 26-year-old AJ Greer, who has played solid fourth-line minutes in games that Smith was not dressed.

Boston could also look to cheaper young depth like Jakub Lauko or Marc McLaughlin from Providence. If the Bruins are to recall Smith from Providence, they would not be able to do so until after the roster freeze ends on Dec. 27, prior to Boston’s matchup in Ottawa against the Senators.