Clearly, they will clear some space
As Marc Savard continues to progress, so approaches general manager Peter Chiarelli’s decision — one that’s been anticipated since the playmaker was placed on long-term injured reserve at the start of the season because of post-concussion symptoms.
Before activating Savard, the Bruins must clear salary before reintroducing the center’s $4.007 million annual cap hit. So sometime before early next month, when Savard could be ready for game action, Chiarelli will create the required space, either via trade or AHL assignment.
“I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I want to do,’’ said Chiarelli.
It may not be a seamless transition. There is no guarantee, according to Chiarelli, that Player X can be traded on the eve of Savard’s return. An opposing GM could insist on acquiring a player — Michael Ryder, for example — sooner rather than later, which would require the Bruins to bridge the gap between that deal and Savard’s reentry. Chiarelli confirmed that in any trade, he would have to accept either draft picks or prospects in return instead of NHL roster players.
However, if Chiarelli turns to AHL assignments, he could clear salary immediately before activating Savard. Only Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, and Tim Thomas have no-movement clauses in their contracts, which frees Chiarelli to waive every other player without having to gain their consent. The Bruins could also bring up any demoted players for the playoffs, when the salary cap is not considered.
For example, if the Bruins assign Ryder to Providence, they can promote him upon the conclusion of the regular season with no cap implications. They would not risk bringing him up during the regular season because a team could claim him for half price on reentry waivers.
Even Marco Sturm is not guaranteed protection against an AHL assignment. If the Bruins believe the left wing, who is recovering from his second major knee surgery, would best serve the club by tucking his $3.5 million salary in the minors, they could send Sturm to Providence.
“I can’t control it,’’ said Sturm. “Whatever Peter’s going to be up to, I respect that. I know it’s a tough situation for a lot of guys in here. We know one or two guys have to leave. It’s going to be interesting.’’
One factor in the Bruins’ favor is how Savard and Sturm project to be staggered in their returns. Sturm is several weeks behind Savard, so the Bruins will make moves prior to each player’s return. Also, both players are eligible for conditioning stints in Providence, which could buy more time for Chiarelli.
Sticking with changes In Wednesday’s third period against Florida, coach Claude Julien tweaked all four lines. Yesterday, Julien kept his new lines. In the first period, the No. 1 line of Bergeron between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton recorded six of the team’s 12 shots.
Julien also skated Ryder with David Krejci and Blake Wheeler on the line that rolled through opponents two years ago. The line combined for four shots yesterday, three by Ryder.
“Two years ago, they had played against third lines because we had a one and two lines at the time,’’ said Julien before the game. “So last year, they were exposed to better resistance, and having not had as good a year, they didn’t have as much success. But that doesn’t mean the following year or later on they can’t. So it’s something we put back together because we felt that in the last game, there was some familiarity between the three of them. Hopefully, they build off some of that chemistry they had in the past.’’
Well-deserved ovation During yesterday’s first television timeout, Mark Recchi was recognized for reaching 1,500 career points on Wednesday. Even the Carolina players stood and applauded the ex-Hurricane. Recchi stood and raised his stick to acknowledge the cheer.
“It was obviously very nice,’’ Recchi said. “The people here in Boston have been wonderful to me. The organization has been great to me. I have wonderful teammates. It was a great feeling. It’s always nice to see people’s reaction to that. It’s just too bad that we didn’t happen to get a big win, too, to top it off.’’
Caron out sick Jordan Caron didn’t play because of flu-like symptoms. He was sick on Thanksgiving and felt worse yesterday, so he was told not to report to the rink. Daniel Paille, who had been a healthy scratch for the last three games, was back in the lineup. Paille skated on the fourth line next to Tyler Seguin and Shawn Thornton. Paille (13 shifts, 11:17 of ice time) lost an edge prior to Carolina’s first goal . . . Chara led all players with six shots. The captain leads the Bruins with 66 shots this season . . . Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu was credited with a game-high eight hits . . . The Bruins will travel to Atlanta after today’s practice for a 5 p.m. tilt tomorrow. They will return to Boston tomorrow night, then head back out on the road Tuesday for a game the following night against Philadelphia.