The Boston Bruins and restricted free agent defender Matt Grzelcyk have agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension worth $14.75 million. The deal carries an annual cap hit of $3.687,500 and will keep Grzelcyk under contract until he’s 30 years old.
For the Bruins, this deal makes a lot of sense. Grzelcyk has continually grown within the Bruins’ organization and his role has become more and more impactful.
With Torey Krug leaving and signing with the St. Louis Blues and Zdeno Chara still unsigned, the Bruins are in need of left-shot defense depth. Grzelcyk now projects to play in a top-four role on the Bruins and could even find himself skating alongside Charlie McAvoy on the team’s top-pairing given their history of playing together at Boston University and even the odd stint together with the Bruins.
Getting a player who projects to play such a significant role for the salary that they were able to certainly looks like a win for the Bruins. At the same time, Grzelcyk was able to get a fairly significant boost to his salary from the $1.4 million annual salary he was earning in each of the last two years.
With so many talented players being forced to settle for less this offseason due to the climate of the world and the uncertainty of revenue streams for teams as well as the risk of a flat salary cap moving forward. Getting a four-year commitment from the Bruins takes away any uncertainty for Grzelcyk and it expires early enough that he’ll get a chance to explore free agency again.
In 197 NHL games, Grzelcyk has scored 10 goals and 54 points. He’s seen an uptick in games, assists and points every season of his career, resulting in a career-high of four goals and 21 points in 68 games last season. Though he’s played primarily in a third-pairing role throughout his career, he’ll get a chance to improve on those offensive totals and prove he can be even better moving forward.
Bruins Offseason Far From Finished
The Bruins still have to make decisions and bolster their lineup moving forward. Jake DeBrusk is still in search of a contract as a restricted free agent, Chara, as mentioned, is still unsigned, and the team still has to explore options to improve from a season ago.
They’d sign Craig Smith to help improve their forward depth, but that can’t be the only addition they make this offseason.
The Bruins do have a plethora of left-shot defensive depth with players like Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril and Urho Vaakanainen all capable of playing NHL roles. Still, the lack of uncertainty and veteran depth is concerning and the Bruins could benefit from having a veteran on the left-side to help transition to the next generation of Bruins’ defenders.