Boston Bruins: What to expect from Matt Grzelcyk in 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 16: Matt Grzelcyk #48 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on February 16, 2020 in New York City. The Bruins defeated the Rangers 3-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 16: Matt Grzelcyk #48 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on February 16, 2020 in New York City. The Bruins defeated the Rangers 3-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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What should we expect from Boston Bruins’ defenseman Matt Grzelcyk in 2021?

Boston Bruins‘ defenseman Matt Grzelcyk had the best season of his short career in 2019-20. Will he be even better in 2021?

Last season, Grzelcyk was able to score 21 points (four goals, 17 assists) in 68 games. His four goals, 17 assists, and 21 points were all career-bests and his 68 games were a career-high.

These numbers equaled the paces of 0.06 goals per game, 0.25 assists per game, and 0.31 points per game.

However, this is with Grizz playing on B’s third defensive pairing and second powerplay unit. With Torey Krug gone, it’s expected that Grzelcyk will be taking on the responsibility of manning the point of the first powerplay unit and teaming up with Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing.

Because of this, I think Grizz’s paces will increase a bit. I’m not saying he’ll be producing at Krug’s level but I think a 0.15 goals per game, 0.35 assists per game, and 0.50 points per game will make sense.

This means that Grzelcyk will have eight goals and 20 assists for 28 points in 56 games. Furthermore, last season just one of Grizz’s four goals and six of his 17 assists came on the powerplay. I think in 2021, he’ll have three powerplay goals and eight powerplay assists.

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Additionally, Grizz averaged 0.99 blocked shots, 0.82 hits, 0.32 takeaways, and 0.57 turnovers per game last season. With him getting an increase in ice time in 2021, I think all of these paces will increase slightly.

I think Grzelcyk will average around 1.05 blocks, 0.90 hits, 0.40 takeaways, and 0.63 turnovers per game in 2021. This equals 59 blocked shots, 50 hits, 22 takeaways, and 35 turnovers in 56 games.

In regard to Grzelcyk’s possession metrics, I think he’ll have similar numbers in 2021. He’s known for being able to control and drive the play with his skating, so I don’t expect this to change. Expect Grizz to have a Corsi-for percentage (CF%) and Fenwick-for percentage (FF%) of at least 51.0.

However, with the increase in minutes, comes with an increase in level of competition. Therefore, I think Grizz will see an increase in penalty minutes (PIM) and his plus/minus (+/-) will be slightly lower. Probably around 45 penalty minutes and +10 in 56 games.

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Overall, I expect Grzelcyk to step up for his new role that includes a lot more responsibility. I think he’ll score more, but he’ll struggle a bit defensively.

Expectations: 56 games, eight goals, 20 assists, 28 points, +10, 45 PIM, 59 blocked shots, 50 hits, 22 takeaways, 35 turnovers, and at least a 51.0 CF% and FF%.