Bruins return Lauko to Providence; Set to Activate DeBrusk

On Friday, the Boston Bruins announced that Jakub Lauko has been returned to the Providence Bruins setting the stage to activate Jake DeBrusk from Long Term Injury Reserve.

Some may view the return of DeBrusk as a trade deadline acquisition with the March 3 deadline about 2 weeks away. The Bruins haven’t been as successful in DeBrusk’s absence and we even saw a cold spell for Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. So, if you want to look at it as an addition, you are more then welcome.

But that’s not all Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney is looking at, right?

Just how are the Bruins sitting as we head to trade deadline? Well, the good news is they are out of LTIR. The bad news is there isn’t a whole lot of cap space to work with; A measly $33,491 today and a mere $154,896 in banked space (the amount of AAV that can be added on trade deadline and remain compliant).

Vinni Lettieri was called up to Boston and was injured in practice and has since been on Injured Reserve. And since you can not send an injured player down to the AHL until he is cleared, Lettieri is eating up valuable cap space, especially with Tomas Nosek skating on his own and getting closer to a return. But injuries are a part of the game and every team has to deal with the same types of situations.

Sweeney, if he wants to make a deal, is going to have to get creative, he’s going to have to move out salary and he’s going to have to pay the price to do so. As it’s been all season long the likely candidates are Mike Reilly who carries a buried cap hit of $2,045,270 in Providence or Craig Smith with a cap hit of $3,075,676 – who spent some time in Providence in a paper transaction.

Reilly won’t have an impact on the current roster and you could make the argument that losing Smith will have little impact on the roster, especially if you can improve in other areas. Contenders don’t like to subtract from their current roster but since Smith is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and Reilly has another year on his deal, Smith may well be more appealing to a team looking to deal and willing to take on salary.

That also means that it will cost more to move Reilly then it would Smith because of that extra year. If it were me, and I am far from an NHL GM, I would look to move Smith at a lessor cost and then I have the option to buyout Reilly in the summer. The buyout would only cost $333,334 towards the cap for 2023-2024 but $1,333,334 towards 2024-2025. That’s the cost of doing business.

The Islanders, Rangers and Maple Leafs have made their big moves and are probably not finished dealing.

Here’s a look at the Bruins cap situation as of today with DeBrusk activated:

Follow me on Twitter @dominictiano

Published by Dominic Tiano

Following the Ontario Hockey League players eligible for the NHL Draft. I provide season-long stats, updates and player profiles as well as draft rankings.

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