BRIGHTON, MA – In recent days it’s been gleaned that Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk is “slightly ahead of schedule” in his return from offseason shoulder surgery, and that progress continued in an encouraging fashion on Friday as he shed the no-contact sweater for full team practice. The puck-moving defenseman listed the first few days of November as his possible return date earlier in training camp, and perhaps that might even be moved up slightly into late October now that he’s back in the regular practice mix.
Grzelcyk’s rapid return continues to muddy a crowded back end picture where Anton Stralman continues to work without a guaranteed contract and has done everything in his power to crack the roster after a solid camp.
Still, Grzelcyk will need to get through a few practices before he’s deemed ready for game action with Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Carlo, Mike Reilly, Jakub Zboril, Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton ramping up for the regular season.
“He’s got to take some contact and he’s got to get into hockey condition, so there are still some hurdles to clear,” said Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery. “But it’s obviously a positive sign that he’s no longer in a no-contact jersey.”
Grzelcyk’s imminent return could grease the wheels for the Boston Bruins to make a roster move with a lot of left shot defenseman. Mike Reilly has enjoyed a really strong camp including the game-winner against the Rangers on Wednesday night, and Derek Forbort has put together a strong camp as the shutdown/penalty killing D-man as well. Both of those players could be candidates in the trade market for a Boston Bruins team that’s going to need to make salary cap moves once Grzelcyk, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy all come off the long term injured reserve.
Taylor Hall continued to skate in a no-contact sweater at Friday’s practice, so there is nothing new there beyond the positive news that he continues to feel good enough to practice with the main group.