Boston Bruins restricted free-agent blueliner Matt Bartkowski is in search of a new contract. He’s opted for salary arbitration, announced the NHLPA Saturday.
Bartkowski was the lone Bruin to appear on the NHLPA’s list of 20 players who motioned to enter arbitration by means of negotiating a new contract with their respective clubs.
The Bruins and Bartkowski will be forced to appear in front of an independent arbitrator if they are unable to reach a contract agreement. Arbitration hearings will be held in Toronto from July 20-August 4. Boston is allowed to negotiate with Bartkowski from now up until their hearing date.
The 26-year-old signed a one-year, one-way deal prior to the 2013-2014 season. He earned $650,000. Bartkowski failed to score a goal this past season, but he did chip in from the back end with 18 assists in 64 games.
It’s unclear what his future is with the team. Boston already has a stacked defensive corps. Bartkowski does provide nice depth and he is a highly serviceable player. He’s reliable in his own end and can move the puck well.
With that said, Peter Chiarelli likely wants to bring him back, but it all comes down to finances. Cap space is limited and fellow restricted free-agent defenseman Torey Krug is also in search of a new deal. Krug certainly takes precedence over Bartkowski based on skill and production alone.