There may be bit of an offensive hole on the Boston Bruins’ blue line with Torey Krug heading to the St. Louis Blues.
Matt Grzelcyk, though, is ready to up his game.
The Bruins extended the 26-year-old defenseman Saturday, a four-year agreement to avoid arbitration. Now, Grzelcyk knows there’s an opportunity to take over on Boston’s top power play unit after Krug’s departure.
“Obviously, a big challenge. The power play is something that we rely on for a lot of our offense in order to have success throughout the season,” he told reporters Monday during a Zoom press conference.
“The first unit is quite stacked with offensive talent. I think, obviously, Torey is a really special player. It?s not always easy having to go into that position. I think when I?ve gone in in years past, I was more focused on wanting to be more of a facilitator and get the pucks into those guys hands,” he continued. “I think I do have a lot of area of improvement in that area and I think that comes with confidence and wanting to take that next step as a player. That is something I?m focused on and I think that I can watch more video to know, not only the plays they run, but seeing kind of where the open ice is from a different perspective. I think that hopefully I can apply that to my game and add that going forward.”
Boston was a force on the power play during the shortened 2019-20 NHL season, converting on 22.2% of its chances. Grzelcyk noted his mindset on helping the group.
“I think my job is just to come in, in as best shape as possible, and I think it?s no secret that we want to — and the defense as a whole — add offensively to our games. That?s something that I take pride in and I want to come back with maybe a new mindset of wanting to initiate more on the offensive side of the puck,” Grzelcyk said.
“I think we?re going to need to in order to have success. If you want to take that next step as a team, we?re going to need to rely on our (defense) to keep pushing pucks up north and wanting to play offensively. Obviously, there is a little bit of opportunity, but it?s up to me to come back a better player and (I) want to take advantage of that.”
Grzelcyk has been a crucial part to the Bruins’ defense, and it appears he knows what’s ahead of him in the upcoming season.