WILMINGTON, Mass. — The Bruins kept Brian McGrattan around for 11 games as an insurance policy, but on Monday decided they might not need the extra coverage after all.
The Bruins put the heavyweight enforcer on waivers on Monday. If he goes unclaimed by another NHL team, he will be assigned to the Bruins' American Hockey League affiliate in Providence.
McGrattan came to Boston as a camp invite and earned a one-year, two-way contract that was signed upon the club's return from the season-opening trip to Prague. But he was a healthy scratch in every game this season, seeing his only action in a three-game conditioning stint with Providence.
The Bruins brought him in to help deal with the new wave of heavyweights added to the Eastern Conference this year, with the likes of Derek Boogaard, Jody Shelley and D.J. King coming over from the West. But with resident tough guy Shawn Thornton handling himself well against the Rangers' 6-foot-7, 265-pound Boogaard and the likes of Milan Lucic, Mark Stuart and Greg Campbell also showing their willingness to drop the gloves when needed, McGrattan's services became redundant.
"I felt it was time for him to go down there," said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. "Frankly, it [McGrattan's toughness] was something I thought we might have needed to start the year. I'm not saying we still won't need him. I spoke with him and there's a good chance he'll be back, but it was time to put him down and get him off the cap for one thing. We'll see where it goes from there."
McGrattan was earning just $515,000 at the NHL level this year, but with the Bruins perilously close to the cap limit and Marc Savard and Marco Sturm due to come off long-term injured reserve at some point, every bit of cap savings is valuable.
If McGrattan clears waivers, it's still possible he could be recalled for action against particularly physical clubs or if Thornton is injured, but for now the Bruins will rely on the team toughness they have in place without the nuclear deterrent of a true heavyweight like McGrattan.