The Bruins announced that they had signed defenseman Matt Bartkowski to a one-year, $1.25 million contract on Monday. Bartkowski tallied 18 assists without notching a goal last season, with a stellar +22 plus/minus in 64 games for Boston last season.
The team and the 26-year-old Bartkowski had until July 30 to work out a deal before the two sides would enter arbitration. Only one player - Blake Wheeler - has ever entered an arbitration hearing with the Bruins during GM Peter Chiarelli's tenure in Boston, and the team made it a priority to ensure it wasn't headed there with another young player.
The signing of Bartkowski adds another player to a stacked back line for the Bruins, as they currently have nine defensemen under contract with only six starting spots available. Even with the new contract, Bartkowski could be on the move out of Boston, as his name has been floated around as a potential option for the B's to acquire new players without using up more of its limited cap space. Other names being dropped in trade rumors are fellow defensemen Adam McQuaid, Johnny Boychuk, and David Warsofsky. The Bruins have around $4.6 million left, with Marc Savard's long-term injury exception counting for around $4 million, to spend on restricted free agents Reilly Smith and Torey Krug, along with any other possible low-cost additions to the roster.
Boston may also look to add pieces within the organization, with a plethora of candidates both in their minor league system and from their recent developmental camp.