With the current holes in the Bruins roster, and the obvious salary cap problem, the Bruins have been the center of several trade rumors, particularly involving young defensemen. Among the names that could potentially be moved this off-season is Matt Bartkowski, the 26 year old defenseman that's seen TD Garden ice the past four seasons.
Bartkowski recently avoided salary arbitration by signing a one year, $1.25 million dollar deal with Boston, but that doesn't mean he'll be suiting up in black and gold come this fall.
That's not to say the Bruins want him out, either. Bartkowski is coming off of the best season of his career, in which he tallied 18 assists, and recorded a plus-22 rating with Boston, logging just under 20 minutes per game.
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli spoke about signing Bart:
“It’s always good if you can come to an agreement before the hearing. I think it sends a positive message to Matt that we want to have him back,” said B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli. “He’s still relatively young. I thought that when Dennis Seidenberg got hurt, he was able to come in and play some real solid minutes. He’s the type of player that can really push the puck well.
“A lot of people remember the couple of blips in the playoffs, but he gave us very good service during the course of the year with Seidenberg out. It’s a tough position in the league, defense, and there are nuances that he’s still learning. I expect him to continue to improve.”
If the Bruins don't dish out one of their other D-men, it would appear that Bartkowski will begin the season as the seventh defenseman. Given his age and talent, the Bruins could probably make a pretty good deal if they opted to ship him out, rather than to keep him as a seventh man.
However, amongst these trade rumors, Bartkowski is staying focused on the thing that really matters: his game.
“I really don’t pay too much attention to it. There’s no real reason to. I think it’s only just a hindrance to worry about where you’re going to end up and all that,” said Bartkowski. “You just prepare for what you can, and the team you’re on. If something happens, it happens. It’s out of our hands, so like I said, there’s really no reason for me to worry about it. I just try to focus on my summer workouts and being as ready as I can for next season.
“I think last year was a good step being able to show people [what I can do]. But I think going forward the main thing would be just consistency. Along the way I’d have a stretch of [good] games, and then maybe a mix-up here or there. I think those happen to maybe not every player, but every younger player in his career. If I can work on the consistency — if you can show you can play every night — then anybody should have a long career doing that.”
Time is ticking for the Bruins to make a move, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens.