The Bruins officially assigned Craig Smith to Providence on Tuesday after he cleared waivers Monday afternoon.
But it’s unclear if the Boston forward will report to the AHL affiliate.
Smith returned to the Bruins’ lineup in their 7-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Monday night — a move head coach Jim Montgomery said would happen once they figured out whether Smith cleared. He was held pointless Monday in what continued to be a frustrating 2022-23 season for the veteran.
The move had to happen in order to provide some cap relief for the Bruins — who had just over $53,000 in cap space left before the Smith move– who save $1.125 million with his assignment to Providence. All NHL rosters are frozen as of 11:59 pm ET on Monday through 12:01 a.m. ET on Dec. 28, and the Bruins now can accrue more cap space daily over the holidays with Smith in Providence.
During the league-wide freeze, there will be no waiver activity or trades, but teams are able to recall players.
It’s unclear if Smith will take the same path as Nick Foligno, who was waived by the Bruins prior to Opening Night yet has played in every game since then, but what we do know is that this move provided some much-needed flexibility.
“It’s a roster flexibility (move). I don’t understand all the inner workings of it,” Montgomery told reporters after Tuesday’s practice. “But I know that something we needed to do was the roster flexibility it gives us. As far as reporting to Providence, I don’t believe he is but I don’t know for certain.”
Smith had just one shot on goal in Monday’s win and has just one goal and three assists on the season.
The Bruins have the next two days off before turning to game action Thursday night when they welcome the Winnipeg Jets to TD Garden. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. ET.