Boston Bruins: Matt Grzelcyk is Massively Underrated

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 11: Matt Grzelcyk
NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 11: Matt Grzelcyk /

The Boston Bruins have iced rookie after rookie this season. Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk are two names that top most headlines, but is defenseman Matt Grzelcyk severely underrated? The numbers would suggest so.

Matt Grzelcyk featured twice for the Boston Bruins in their last campaign but this year he has truly found his feet. Slotting into the third pairing with Adam McQuaid following his return from injury.

Of the players to suit up for the Boston Bruins this season, Matt Grzelcyk in his 38 games tops the team in CF% (Corsi For). For those unaware of the statistic or need a reminder, Corsi measures shot attempt differential while at even strength during play. Meaning shots on goal, missed shots on goal and blocked shots towards the opponents net minus the same shot attempts against the Bruins net.

Elite Numbers

Grzelcyk has a 58.32 CF% meaning he has been on the ice for 554 shot attempts towards an opponents net whilst he has faced only 396 shots attempted at the Bruins net. These are elite numbers. Second on the Bruins for those who have played more than 30 games is none other than Patrice Bergeron with a 57.58 CF%. Don’t get me wrong, Bergeron has played far more minutes against tougher opposition and played more games. Grzelcyk however, is a rookie playing on the third-pairing and these numbers are staggering.

Of the players who have played more than 30 games this season in the NHL, Grzelcyk ranks second only behind Mathieu Perreault of the Winnipeg Jets who possesses a 58.95 CF% in 47 games.

His Fenwick stats are all the more impressive (Fenwick is similiar to Corsi but doesn’t measure blocked shots). Again Grzelcyk tops the Bruins with a FF% (Fenwick For) of 59.70%, a staggering two percentage points higher than second place David Backes with a 57.57 FF%. For comparison Patrice Bergeron ranks fourth with 56.09 FF%.

Goals For and Goals Against

If those numbers haven’t convinced you yet maybe these will. Grzelcyk has been on the ice for 30 Bruins goals this season and 12 goals going in the wrong net. This equates to a Goals For percentage of 71.43%, which ranks him second within the organization. Only Brad Marchand has a higher percentage of 72.55% (37 for, 12 against). Patrice Bergeron ranks just behind Grzelcyk in third with a 69.81% (37 for, 16 against).

What do the numbers really mean?

It means that whenever Grzelcyk is on the ice, the Bruins are creating far more chances than they are conceding. Which by extension means he is doing a fantastic job on the blue-line.  Yes he may have only 10 points in his 38 games but other players and the team are benefitting from his work.

Boston Bruins
DETROIT, MI – FEBRUARY 06: Matt Grzelcyk /

Grzelcyk passes both the analytics and the eye-test in my view. The third-round pick is blossoming into a staple for this Bruins team. It doesn’t do any harm that he is a local boy and his father has worked at the rink for decades. In fact it makes him all the more endearing to Bruins fans.

Of course you do wonder would he top the list if he had played every game for the Bruins this season, the chances are he may have slipped down the rankings slightly. You can only play the hand your dealt and the games you are selected for.

If these numbers continue Grzelcyk will no doubt work his way up the Bruins lineup in years to come.

Statistics courtesy of