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What Could the Boston Bruins Acquire in a Matt Grzelcyk Trade?

(Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP Photo)

By: Tom Calautti | Follow me on Twitter @TCalauttis

To trade or not to trade, that is the question facing Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney as we approach the ever-looming March 8th NHL Trade Deadline. However, this deadline is different than most, as Boston has an opportunity to buy and sell pieces off their roster to improve the team for the present and future. One of those players he could move is defenseman Matt Grzelcyk.

It’s no secret that Grzelcyk is having a down year. The Charlestown native has two goals, six assists, and eight points across 47 games this season. When you combine the fact that Grzelcyk will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season with the ascendence of Mason Lohrei, you get a recipe tailor-made for a trade deadline move. The Boston University alum doesn’t look to be part of the team’s future, and his free-agent status means letting him play out the string will result in losing him for nothing at the end of the season. The logical solution to this problem is to trade him.

I’m aware that Matt Grzelcyk has been a polarizing figure in Boston. Still, when you look at his numbers from a neutral standpoint, they paint a picture of a solid NHL defender who excels in breaking out pucks, defends responsibly, and can chip in on offense when he’s playing his best. He averages just over 20 points a season and has only fallen below a +10 once in his career. All this to say, Grzelcyk is a legitimate top-six defenseman who can play top-four minutes but is better suited for a bottom-pairing role.

So, what could the Boston Bruins acquire in a Grzelcyk trade? Well, I’m glad you asked because NHL teams have a history of overpaying for puck-moving defensemen at the trade deadline. In 2022 the Vancouver Canucks traded a 3rd round pick for Travis Dermott (6-foot, 200 pounds), a mobile defenseman who put up 2-5-7 in 16 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Dermott is a few years younger, but his profile and style of play are eerily similar to Grzelcyk’s, and Grzelcyk is a better all-around defenseman. Here are some other trades that included defensemen in previous years:

  • 2022: Nashville Predators trade a second-round pick to Seattle for Jeremy Lauzon;
  • 2021: Columbus Blue Jackets trade a second-round pick to Carolina for Jake Bean;
  • 2021: Winnipeg Jets trade a third-round pick to Vancouver for Nate Schmidt in a move most consider a salary dump.

I know all these comparisons aren’t apples to apples, and the market is depressed this season due to the league-wide cap crunch. However, my point remains that viable, top-six defensemen are coveted around the league, and history shows teams are willing to dish out draft capital in return for help on their backend.

Early and mid-round picks are available all over the league, and it’s been shown time and time again that teams are willing to part with them for NHL-caliber defensemen. If I’m Don Sweeney, I prioritize acquiring some grit and snarl for my defensive corps first, but my very next move is recouping some draft capital and sending Matt Grzelcyk out the door before he walks into free agency.

1 Comment

  1. TheJeepDiva Team

    I love the idea of acquiring a top-six forward in exchange for Grzelcyk. A skilled player would really help fill the void left by last season’s departures. Do you think the Bruins would be willing to part with their 2023 first-round pick to get a deal done?

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