Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk isn’t letting his contract status drag him down, but he also isn’t shy talking about who he wants to play for past this season.
Things haven’t gone as planned for Matt Grzelcyk, as the injury bug has hit him at the worst possible time. The 30-year-old defenseman from Charlestown, MA, is playing on an expiring four-year, $14.7 million ($3.6M AAV) contract and is easily having his worst season since becoming a full-time NHLer in the 2017-18 season. Through 30 games played, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound puck-moving defenseman has just two goals and four assists and has a plus-minus of +3. He’s had a stretch of 13 games without a point and 18 without a goal.
This comes after the best season of his career last season when he had four goals, and 26 assists in 70 games and finished second in the NHL in plus-minus at a +46 rating, trailing only teammate and fellow Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm who finished at +49. Despite the fact that he was coming off his best NHL season, Grzelcyk came into the 2023-24 season on an expiring contract and can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. However, that’s not what’s been dragging him down or distracting him. Instead, it’s been the dose of Murphy’s Law he’s experienced on the health front. Grezelcyk missed tend games between Oct. 30 and Nov. 25 and then three more between Dec. 19-30.
“It actually hasn’t,” Grzelcyk replied when asked if his uncertain contract status has been taking it’s toll in a one-on-one interview with Boston Hockey Now recently.
“You never know how it’s going to play out, I guess. The summer before, maybe you’re thinking about it, but I’ve just been trying to play better. I think I got off to a pretty good start, but once I got hurt, I started taking a step back a little bit. I think that was more of a mindset switch than anything, and I’m trying to play a little bit better now, just one game at a time. That’s kind of my focus now, and I know it’s kind of a cliche, but it really hasn’t crept up.”
Not even when he was sitting at home, unable to play?
“No,” Grzelcyk replied. “I mean, I’m spending most of my time thinking about ‘Am I going to be healthy?’ and things like that, but no, it hasn’t popped up.”
That doesn’t mean he still doesn’t think about playing for the Boston Bruins, the only NHL team he’s played for and loved since he was a kid growing up in Charlestown.
“Obviously, I’ve only played for one team, and it’s my childhood dream to play for this team, so I know exactly where I want to be for sure,” Grzelcyk said. “It’s been special to not only play for the Bruins but to just play on such good teams every year. It’s something that I definitely don’t take for granted.”
What if the Boston Bruins decide not to bring him back after this season or trade him before the March 8 NHL trade deadline?
“I don’t even allow myself to think about it; it’s just too weird,” Grzelcyk said. “Like I’ve said, I’ve been a Bruins fan my whole life, so I’ve kind of grown up with that, and it’s all I’ve known since I’ve been out of college, so hopefully that day doesn’t come, and I’m going to try and not think about it until then.”