There’s been plenty of NHL trade speculation about Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk since he and the Bruins lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals to the Florida Panthers on April 30.
Matt Grzelcyk is coming off his best season since the Boston Bruins drafted him in the 3rd round (85th overall) at the 2012 NHL Draft. The 29-year-old Charlestown, MA native and former Boston University star had four goals and 22 assists in 75 regular season games. Grzelcyk is entering the final season of a four-year contract that carries a $3.6 million salary cap hit.
“It just makes too much sense that they trade him,” one NHL executive opined to Boston Hockey Now recently. “He’s still got some really good value, and he may get ya second if you find the right team. …probably a third, but teams want him. Smooth puck mover and played tougher this season. He matched that forecheck.”
When asked about the future of Grzelcyk with the Boston Bruins and the potential that he could be a salary cap casualty for the soon-to-be very cap-strapped Boston Bruins last Tuesday, general manager Don Sweeney heaped praise upon him.
“Matt had a really, really strong year,” Sweeney said of Grzelcyk.
But then Sweeney – unprompted – decided to defend what some believe was one of head coach Jim Montgomery’s worst decisions in the seven-game series loss to the Panthers when Montgomery scratched Grzelcyk for Connor Clifton in Game 6.
“You know, the lineup changes that we decided to make with him and Connor, situations be it on the road or physicality or some of the opportunities that we felt comfortable playing all seven, eight defensemen that we had on our roster,” Sweeney said of Montgomery’s decision to put Connor Clifton back in the lineup over Grzelcyk for Game 6.
Clifton had a turnover, took a bad penalty that led to a Panthers’ powerplay goal and finished a minus-3 in 13:22 TOI in Game 6. Sweeney hinted the decision was more a result of depth and matchups.
“We felt in years past, we certainly have tested that to the level of 10 deep,” the Boston Bruins GM pointed out. “So, Matt had a really good year. Jim is moving the pieces around and playing players. We certainly upset the apple cart and his usage, bringing in Orlov and that was to address the depth and need that we felt we could really utilize throughout a long playoff run. So, we’re going to look at all the roster things that that you referenced. It’s not just that Grizzy could fit in and play with Charlie [McAvoy]. There’s a tremendous amount of flexibility with Matt and we’re happy he is a Bruin.”
So will that be the infamous kiss of death from a GM, or will Grzelcyk be a cap casualty?
Read Here: Keep Grzelcyk and don’t put him on the NHL trade market. His game fits today’s NHL game and he definitely would’ve been better than Clifton in Game 6. On top of that, there’s a good chance the Bruins let Clifton walk via unrestricted free agency.