Wagner Sent To AHL As Boston Bruins Finalize NHL Roster
The Boston Bruins had some paper transactions over the last few days to get cap compliant at the NHL level, but Nick Foligno, Mike Reilly and Jakub Lauko were all with the team in Washington DC on Tuesday getting ready for the season opener vs. the Washington Capitals. The moves were mostly about maximizing salary cap space and the amount of money they could save using the long term injured reserve spots for their rehabbing players.
Chris Wagner, on the other hand, was the last man cut from Boston Bruins training camp and was skating on the ice with the Providence Bruins on Tuesday after spending nearly all of last season in the AHL with the P-Bruins.
Wags leads the stretch pic.twitter.com/ezHEBT2Fws
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) October 11, 2022
It’s a tough break for the 31-year-old Wagner, who played well during training camp while playing with his usual mix of physicality, energy and skating speed that should have a place at the NHL level.
It goes beyond simply deserving it, though, as Jack Studnicka was going to remain with the Bruins due to his waivers eligibility, and Lauko was a cheaper hit on the salary cap than the $1.35 million hit Wagner would represent at the NHL level. Wagner knew this was a possibility as Boston Bruins training camp progressed and vowed to be the same exact kind of leader and pro he was last season while guiding the young B’s players at the American Hockey League level.
“It’s more of a ‘What do I have to lose’ kind of thing’ Like I’ve said before, I’m proud of myself that I was able to come back and play in the playoffs and play decent, too,” said Wagner when asked about his mindset going into this fall’s training camp. “I still think I can play in this league but time will tell.”
Last spring, he joked that he “felt like he was Reg Dunlop” while playing a mentor role in the minor leagues last season, and it may be that he’ll be doing that again this season for the Boston Bruins organization.
“Could I handle it?” asked Wagner repeating a question from a weeks ago as to whether he could handle another stint in the AHL again this season. “As opposed to what? It’s my job to show up”
The silver lining for Wagner: The Walpole native worked hard last season and did all the right things and was rewarded with an NHL callup at the end of the year and getting into some Stanley Cup playoff games where he was effective for the Black and Gold. That kind of outcome could await him again this season after he posted 15 goals and 27 points in 62 games for the P-Bruins last season while giving an honest-to-goodness professional effort every single day.
Here’s the Boston Bruins roster for opening night with Charlie McAvoy, Brad Marchand and Matt Filipe landing on injured reserve to start the season:
Patrice Bergeron, Brandon Carlo, Connor Clifton, Charlie Coyle, Jake DeBrusk, Nick Foligno, Derek Forbort, Trent Frederic, A.J. Greer, Matt Grzelcyk, Taylor Hall, David Krejci, Jakub Lauko, Hampus Lindholm, Tomas Nosek, David Pastrnak, Mike Reilly, Craig Smith, Jack Studnicka, Jeremy Swayman, Linus Ullmark, Pavel Zacha, Jakub Zboril.
Injured and/or Non-Roster: Matt Filipe, Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy.