BRIGHTON, MA – As per usual, the Boston Bruins injury situation came to the forefront now that their Stanley Cup playoff run has ended with the first-round exit at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes. Most notably, Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk revealed that he’d been playing with a bum right shoulder for the majority of this past season that it will require surgery in the coming week.
It’s expected that Grzelcyk isn’t going to be ready to start next season given the rehab timetable following shoulder surgery in the coming weeks.
“I had a dislocated shoulder that happened at home against Winnipeg, so I need to get surgery next week,” said Grzelcyk, who estimated he played roughly 50 games with the injured shoulder. “I’m not sure of the timetable, but I’ll probably miss the start of the season. It was quite difficult just not feeling like myself. Pain-wise it would keep popping in and out, and that’s why I’d have to miss a game or two to let things calm down.
“I’m just looking forward to being healthy again. It really limited what I was able to do out there. Just getting through practice some days was pretty tough, but I’d definitely make that decision again to gut it out and try to help the team.”
The injury could go back even further as his right shoulder has most definitely sustained some damage over the last couple of seasons.
Matt Grzelcyk heads to the room after getting tied up with Jordan Eberle. Not good. pic.twitter.com/2ljVDgJONJ
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) January 19, 2021
Grzelcyk said he had surgery on the opposite left shoulder when he was a defenseman at Boston University, and at least knows what to expect with the recovery and rehab.
It explains a lot for Grzelcyk, who finished out of the lineup in the last few games of Boston’s Stanley Cup playoff run after posting zero points and a minus-6 in the first five games of the series. He was losing physical battles in the D-zone when he was in the lineup and taking stick fouls to perhaps try and compensate while playing injured.
It was clear at several points during the season that he was playing through an upper body injury, so the news of the separated shoulder was hardly a surprising development with the 5-foot-9, 170-pound defenseman.
The shoulder injury could be a complication for the Boston Bruins, however, as the 28-year-old defenseman might have been a player they’d consider moving this summer amidst a very crowded group of NHL defensemen on the B’s roster. But that won’t be happening with a player like Grzelcyk coming off surgery that’s going to need to show that he’s healthy before something like that could even be considered.
Grzelcyk finished with four goals and 24 points along with a plus-22 in 73 games with the Boston Bruins this season, and at his best is a solid top-4 puck-moving defensemen adept at moving pucks and defending despite his small stature. With Hampus Lindholm in the fold, Jakub Zboril signed to a new two-year contract and Derek Forbort established as a solid bottom-pairing defenseman, it feels like there’s going to be an odd-man out between Grzelcyk and Mike Reilly once everybody gets healthy next season.
For now, though, Grzelcyk will obviously be focused on rest and rehab from a shoulder surgery that will require time for recovery.