Matt Grzelcyk looking to join BU teammates in Boston
With the recent signings of Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Charlie McAvoy, there is a relatively strong Boston University presence in the Bruins system. And while JFK and McAvoy are getting most of the media attention, it is easy to forget another solid ex-Terrier currently skating in Friar-country.
Matt Grzelcyk has quietly put together a strong rookie campaign for the Providence Bruins, currently sitting eighth among rookie defensemen in the AHL and third among Providence defensemen with 31 points. As the Baby B’s continue their late-season push to return to the AHL playoffs, and with McAvoy making his NHL debut in Game 1 up in Ottawa on Wednesday night, Providence will need their depth players to really step-up.
For that, Grzelcyk is certainly one they can count on during the down the stretch.
“I’m not trying to change my game too much,” Grzelcyk said after this past Friday’s 2-1 home win against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. “Just continue to play the way I play and if a chance [to get called up to Boston again] happens, that’s great, but right now we’re trying to go on a deep playoff run down here, and it’s been great so far.”
As some may recall, Grzelcyk dressed for two games for Boston in mid-December, playing in his first NHL game in Pittsburgh and the following night at home against the Anaheim Ducks. Though Grzelcyk did not record a point in either game, he did have a total of four shots on goal and even saw some time on the power-play against the Penguins.
“I wasn’t really happy with the way my training camp went. Obviously, when I didn’t make the team I was disappointed. So I told myself that, if I get that chance again, to not be nervous and just play with confidence,” Grzelcyk said on his first go-around with Boston. “I think I did a pretty good job of that. Overall it was a great experience.”
“I thought he looked well,” Providence Coach Kevin Dean stated after Friday’s game. “You didn’t notice him as much as you do on some nights, and that’s a credit to Bridgeport, they play tight, they don’t offer a lot of second-wave stuff, but I thought his neutral-zone transition game was very good and I thought his breakouts were good. Overall, I thought he played a good game. He contributed to our pace of the game, when we were buzzing and playing pretty good for stretches, he was a part of that because he was breaking pucks out well and transitioning pucks well. That’s his game.”
Things only got better for the 2012 third-round pick over the weekend. In Saturday’s 3-0 win against Bridgeport once again, Grzelcyk scored Providence’s second goal on the power-play early in the second period and was named the game’s third star.
It’s been consistency like this that has made Grzelcyk a player to watch in Providence. Before long, he could very well join his former Terrier teammates with the Big Club.
“It’s awesome,” Grzelcyk said of Forsbacka-Karlsson and McAvoy signing with Boston, “Anytime you get a few familiar faces around, it definitely can’t hurt. [McAvoy and Forsbacka-Karlsson] are two great character guys, those are two guys you want to win with.”
And though there is a strong Boston University presence in the Bruins organization, there is quite the Boston College representation as well. With former Eagles Jimmy Hayes in Boston, and Ryan Fitzgerald and Tommy Cross in Providence, the Terriers are forced to team up with some of their former rivals to bring success to the Bruins organization.
But if you ask Grzeclyk, he certainly doesn’t mind.
“I’ve been taking a beating from them,” Grzelcyk said smiling.