The Boston Bruins’ streak of being incredibly unlucky regarding injuries won’t end in the 2022-23 season. The team already knew they’d be without Brad Marchand for the first two months of next season but things went from bad to worse Friday when they announced a new slew of injuries. Included in that list of players are Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk and Mike Reilly.
The most significant of those injuries (both in terms of recovery time and significance to the team) would obviously be the one to McAvoy. The 24-year-old underwent a left shoulder arthroscopic stabilization procedure on Friday. The recovery time for this injury is approximately six months and is in line with Marchand’s recovery time. This also lines up with the start of McAvoy’s eight-year $76 million contract that he signed last season but which only kicks in next season.
The second most significant injury, again both in terms of recovery time and significant to the team is Grzelcyk’s. The 28-year-old defender underwent a right shoulder open stabilization procedure and is expected to miss the next five months due to recovery time. That would keep Grzelcyk out for the first month of the season or so which isn’t ideal but could also be worse (see: Marchand and McAvoy).
Finally, the Bruins’ announced that Reilly underwent a right ankle tendon repair and removal of bone fragments. The 28-year-old’s injury is expected to take roughly three months for recovery which means Reilly shouldn’t be in danger of missing the start of the 2022-23 season. This, of course, is assuming everything goes as planned.
For reference, the Bruins played very sparingly at the start of the 2021-22 season and by the time the month of November was finished, they had played 19 regular-season games. That’s nearly a quarter of their regular-season games which is less than ideal, to say the least. It’s unclear how many games any of these players will miss, but if it approaches anything even close to that number, especially for players as important as Marchand and McAvoy, the Bruins could be in serious trouble.
This also doesn’t even factor in the future of Patrice Bergeron which is still very much in the air. It’s unclear if Bergeron is looking to return next season or if he’s going to retire, but the latter would put the Bruins in even worse shape than they’re already looking to be in to start next season.
As far as healthy defenders currently on the roster, Reilly should be good to go to start the season. He’s joined by Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Carlo, Jakub Zboril, Connor Clifton and Derek Forbort who are under contract as of the time of this writing.
Bruins’ Offseason Off to a Weird Start
This offseason already appeared to be a weird crossroads of sorts that would come with a lot of uncertainty. This plethora of injuries made things even less clear for general manager Don Sweeney (who is expected to sign an extension, but whose future also still hasn’t necessarily been set in stone yet).
It does appear that things are still business as usual for Sweeney even without an extension in place as he signed Joona Koppanen to a contract extension Thursday. Between the Bruins also needing to bolster their lineup and the future of forward Jake DeBrusk in Boston also unclear, it’s fairly acceptable to be confused as a Bruins fan given how uncertain everything seems right now.
It’s too early to be too doom-and-gloom about the 2022-23 season, but having to overcome so many difficult obstacles before the 2022 postseason even ends is also a tough pill to swallow. Still, there’s a lot of time between now and the postseason next year, giving the Bruins ample time to plan and figure things out. What those plans will entail is anyone’s guess and it’s likely that even the team brass is still figuring that out as they prepare for the 2022 NHL Draft and the start of free agency.
The Bruins don’t have a first-round pick as it stands in the 2022 Draft, but teams are typically active around this time of year and things can definitely still be in flux. That isn’t to say that the Bruins will make a move to acquire a first-round pick as if they do, it might indicate that they are leaning more towards a rebuild or retool than an attempt to contend net season.
All of this is just speculative right now as, once again, there is very little certainty for the team heading into the offseason. Only time will tell how things unfold, but it’s definitely going to be an offseason for Bruins fans to keep an eye on as the dominos start to fall.