Matt Bartkowski never got a chance to come up to Boston in his second go-round with the Bruins organization, but it might have helped him get back into the NHL.
Bartkowski was released from his contract with the P-Bruins on Wednesday after playing 34 games in Providence and he’s signed a two-year contract with the Calgary Flames after reporting to their team on the same day he was granted his release.
“This has been six years in the making,” joked Bartkowski in a text with CSN New England about finally joining the Flames organization after he was nearly traded there in exchange for Jarome Iginla back in the infamous deal that wasn’t in the 2013 lockout season.
The aborted trade was Bartkowski, Alex Khokhlachev (who has since bolted to the KHL) and a first-round pick in exchange for Iginla, a deal that fell through when the veteran, Hall of Fame-level power forward instead chose to be dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins, instead.
The Bruins settled for Jaromir Jagr at the deadline instead, and fell a couple of games short of a Stanley Cup title while losing at home to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games with Jagr going goal-less for the entire postseason run.
Bartkowski, 28, had two goals and 10 points, along with an even plus-minus rating, for Providence this season after he was passed over in free agency following a decent season (six goals, 18 points in 80 games) with the Vancouver Canucks last season. The affable D-man will be joining former Bruins D-man Dougie Hamilton and goalie Chad Johnson in Calgary.
Bartkowski can help add depth to a Calgary team that could use some on the back end and Bartkowski’s 211 NHL games would fulfill the minimum NHL requirement (40 or more NHL games the prior season or played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons) to expose a D-man to the expansion draft. So it's not shocking for the Flames to sign Bartkowski and get him under contract for the 2017-18 season as part of their expansion draft plan.
Either way it’s a good place for a good-skating, good guy to regenerate some of his NHL value as a useful defenseman and for Bartkowski to finally show the Flames fans what they’ve been missing all these years after the Iginla deal fell through.