By: Brandon Flowers | Follow me on Twitter @BKFlowers1
The season so far for the Bruins has been relatively good, barring a few weak spots. There are a few things that can be attributed to the weak points during the season. The Bruins have not faired well against two teams this season, the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. For whatever reason, the Bruins haven’t played their best games against these two teams. Besides the losses, the Bruins have also dealt with many injuries to start the season. The lineup has been in flux a lot of the season. Injuries have taken a toll on the front end as well as the back end.
The most recent injury the Bruins have faced is Brandon Carlo being out week-to-week with an upper-body injury caused by the hit to the head by Tom Wilson of the Capitals. Wilson ended up getting suspended seven games for boarding, although many feel it was the dirty hit to the head. Carlo isn’t a huge point producer, but his leadership in the back end is something the Bruins covet. With Carlo out, Boston has had to fluctuate the defensive pairings to find the best fit going forward. During the time Carlo is out, which Bruins defenseman needs to step up the most?
The most obvious answer to everyone would be Charlie McAvoy. With Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara’s departure in the offseason, McAvoy would need to step up and assume that role of a leader in the back end. He has done that so far this season. He is producing points and is showing the skill it takes to be a leader. Even with having different defensive pairings, McAvoy can work well with whoever he might be playing with, and he allows them to play their best hockey.
There was a different defenseman who I thought could step up even more during Brandon Carlo’s absence. That player is Matt Grzelcyk. Grzelcyk has dealt with his own injuries to start the season and hasn’t really shown what he can do this season, given his bigger role in the offense. Grzelcyk has now been promoted to play alongside McAvoy on the first-line defense pairing. He started the season playing alongside Carlo and did well but did not fully show his full ability. Now playing alongside McAvoy, he really has the chance to be great.
McAvoy has the ability to make the people he plays with really good, so Grzelcyk needs to take advantage of this opportunity. He will be playing more minutes which will give him more opportunity to produce on the scoresheet. Grzelcyk is an outstanding puck mover and can rush the offensive zone with ease. He will also get this opportunity to produce on the powerplay.
Matt Grzelcyk will be a very key piece to the Bruins defense with Carlo being injured. He should be able to produce at a higher level with him getting more ice time. Bruins fans don’t sleep on Grzelcyk.