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Monday, July 14, 2014

Bruins Re-Sign Matt Bartkowski for Another Season

In pro sports, it's all about where you play. Meaning that a mediocre player on a good team often gets exposed while nobody notices the same player on a bad or average team. I bring this convoluted thought up because the Bruins avoided arbitration today and signed defenseman Matt Bartkowski to a one-year deal worth $1.25 million.

We all know Bartkowski's strengths (moving the puck) and weaknesses (decision making) after a full season with Boston in 2013-14. In 64 games, he had zero goals, 18 assists and he was +22 with 30 penalty minutes and 91 shots on goal. In eight postseason games (he was a healthy scratch a few times), he had zero goals, one assist and was +2 with 10 penalty minutes and 12 shots on goal.

He'll never be a star but it's not hard to see Bartkowski having a long and respectable NHL career, he just turned 26 in June. He has decent size (6-foot-1, 196 pounds), he's durable and you know what you're getting from him. With Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid out with major injuries for much of last season, that gave Bartkowski an opportunity for consistent ice time with the B's and a ticket out of Providence.

With Seidenberg and McQuaid both expected back by training camp in September, Bartkowski could find himself back on the fringe of the roster. Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton, Seidenberg and McQuaid are all better than him. Still, much can change between now and the regular season starting in October: injuries, trades, playing poorly, etc.

There are many teams in the NHL that Bartkowski would be a top-4 defenseman for, the difference is that will hopefully never happen with the Bruins unless they are in a serious rebuilding mode. He provides quality depth and this contract is certainly affordable for them going forward.

UPDATE 7/16: If that Bartkowski news didn't get you fired up for this season, I know what will: the Bruins re-signed Jordan "I'm totally useless" Caron to a one-year deal worth $600,000. If I have to explain how dumb that decision is, stop reading this blog and log off forever, friend.

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