Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk has been a regular on the NHL trade circuit for a while now, and it appears that won’t change anytime soon.
With NHL teams starting to make roster cuts at their respective training camps, team management, and coaching staffs are beginning to realize what they have and need heading into the 2023-24 season. They’re also realizing what players they can trade to create the necessary cap space before the puck drops on a new season.
“Chatter is picking up more as I scout preseason games here,” a Northeast-based NHL pro scout told Boston Hockey Now on Wednesday morning. “Teams are starting to see if maybe they have a young player that can make the jump or eat up more minutes. Look at what the kid [Mason] Lohrei did in Buffalo last night. Sure, he made some mistakes, but he didn’t get down on himself, and man, he ate some minutes up. I watched him a lot last season. I think he could be ready for the show.”
In his first NHL preseason game, Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Mason Lohrei picked up an assist on the Bruins’ lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres and was a monster minutes eater at 29:01. He totaled 30 shifts with 3:30 of them on the powerplay and 2:14 on the penalty kill.
If Lohrei, 21, has another impressive showing like that in his next game, would the Boston Bruins ever consider exploring the NHL trade market again before the season begins to see if they could create some cap space by trading 29-year-old defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who is entering the final season of a four-year, $14.7 million contract that carries a $3.6 million salary cap hit?
Or what about 31-year-old defenseman Derek Forbort, entering the final season of a three-year, $9 million contract with a $3 million salary cap hit?
“I don’t really know about Forbort, but I can tell you that teams are interested in Grzelcyk,” the scout told BHN. “Maybe Donny [Sweeney] should ring up Kyle [Davidson] again in Chicago? Grzelcyk is better than any left-shot D they have now, and they have cap space. He could be great on their powerplay.”
Could the Bruins face three former teammates (Nick Foligno, Taylor Hall, and Grzelcyk) in their season opener against the Blackhawks on Oct. 11?
One thing is for sure: if players like Lohrei or even Matthew Poitras up front force their way onto the roster, then Don Sweeney will be more likely to free up some space on the NHL trade market.