It looks like Peter Chiarelli has made the first move to clear up cap space for the return of injured forward Marc Savard and Marco Sturm. The Bruins announced this evening that the they have traded defenseman Matt Hunwick to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for former Boston University defenseman Colby Cohen.
Hunwick's $1.45 million cap hit that is cleared will give the Bruins enough cap relief to make room for Marc Savard. Peter Chiarelli said in a conference call this evening that "this will be enough to activate Marc Savard when he is ready". Chiarelli called the move "one of the steps to take care of the cap situation" The Bruins will still need to clear up space to activate Marco Sturm when the time comes, which Chiarelli addressed saying, "we still have another move to make".
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The 21-year-old Cohen has appeared in 3 games for the Avalanche this season. He has a +/- of minus-1 and 4 PIMs over his brief NHL career. Cohen is an offensive defenseman, who racked up 30 points (14-16-30) in 36 games for BU last season.You may remember Cohen as the kid that scored the game-winning goal in BU's epic comeback win in the 2009 NCAA National Championship game. Chiarelli described Cohen as "a big, strong kid with a right hand shot" and admitted that Cohen "has been on our interest list for a while". Chiarelli went on to say that "range, size, and shot are his biggest assets."
Cohen has been assigned to the Providence Bruins and the Bruins will make do with six defenseman for the foreseeable future. If he were to be in Boston his cap hit would be $875,000 (which would be prorated),
The move clears Matt Hunwick's cap hit of $1.45 million, but it also leaves a hole in the Bruins' blue line. Adam McQuaid will step in to the 6th defenseman role and the B's will not carry an extra defenseman. While McQuiad is a serviceable defenseman, his puck-moving abilities do not match Hunwick's skill set. However, Peter Chiarelli addressed their continued search for the elusive puck-moving defrenseman that is in short supply by saying "we will continue to look for that type of defenseman".
Chairelli is confident that the Bruins blue line can compete night in and night out. "I still like our back end", said Chiarelli. Chiarelli praised McQuiad by saying "he plays a solid game" and "is a player that we look to to play in our six.". The Bruins GM is also comfortable with the blue line talent waiting in the wings, saying "I'm confident in our defensive pipeline".