Defensemen protected by the Bruins.
As previously stated, the B’s decided to protect three defensemen for the expansion draft. They are:
- Charlie McAvoy – right defenseman
- Matt Grzelcyk – left defenseman
- Brandon Carlo – right defenseman
Reason for protection:
McAvoy is the B’s top defenseman. He’s as obvious of a protection as Bergeron and Marchand if they didn’t have NMCs. No way he was being left exposed.
Grzelcyk is Boston’s second-best defenseman, McAvoy defensive partner, and the quarterback for the Black and Gold’s first powerplay unit. Yet another very expected protection.
Although Carlo struggled a bit to stay healthy this season as he sustained multiple concussions, he’s still key piece to Boston’s defense and overall team. He holds down the team’s second D-pairing and kills penalties. Not as easy of a decision to protect like McAvoy and Grzelcyk, but still an expected decision.
Defensemen left exposed by the Bruins:
- Jeremy Lauzon – left defenseman
- Connor Clifton – right defenseman
- Jakub Zboril – left defenseman
Reason for exposure:
If Lauzon played just a bit better and didn’t get injured as much this season, he may have warranted a protection. However, he struggled in an increased role and broke his hand two times. His exposure also might have to do with how many forwards the B’s had to protect.
Clifton is in a similar situation to Lauzon. With so many injuries to Boston’s backend this season, Clifton was asked to play almost regularly. He struggled a bit and found his game during the playoffs but ultimately doesn’t warrant a protection over anyone that is protected.
Zboril is one of the three 2015 first-round picks. He started 2020-21 as the B’s third-pair left defenseman but ultimately was injured and lost his job after Mike Reilly was acquired at the deadline. Not to mention, he struggled a decent amount when he was healthy and in the lineup.