The Boston Bruins are winning hockey games despite being amidst a very difficult salary cap crunch that continues to force them into certain cap-forced roster moves.
There was another one of them on Sunday afternoon as veteran winger Craig Smith was placed on waivers by the Black and Gold, per a report from Elliotte Friedman.
Full waivers today: Sedlak clears and contract is terminated. Craig Smith (BOS), Czarnik (DET), Demers (EDM — just signed). Soshnikov (NYI) & Zhuravlyov (COL) on waivers for purposes of contract termination.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 18, 2022
This might have been unthinkable a season ago as Smith was a valued free agent signing out of Nashville a few years ago that had settled into a second and third line role while producing as a shoot-first type of player.
But this season has been tough sledding for the 33-year-old Smith, who has a goal and four points in 17 games played while in and out of the lineup with a series of healthy scratches and injuries keeping him from being a regularly used forward. It’s a far cry from last season when Smith had 16 goals and 36 points for the Black and Gold while playing in 74 games, but this season it’s come to a point where the Bruins could use his $3.1 million cap hit for savings or a different roster player that can help them win hockey games.
The Boston Bruins have pursued avenues to trade Smith for cap savings this season, but the tepid interest combined with assets the B’s would have to give up just to trade away a cap problem made waivers the most sensible course of action. It’s doubtful anybody is going to claim Smith, who may be on his way to the AHL to join Mike Reilly after he was placed on waivers and sent to Providence last month in a similar cost-cutting transaction.
It remains to be seen if there is any kind of corresponding move for a player from Providence if/when Smith clears waivers on Monday and is potentially sent down to the AHL.