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Bruins’ blueliners needed surgeries, including McAvoy

Bruins' blueliners needed surgeries, including McAvoy

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - APRIL 21: Charlie McAvoy #73 and Matt Grzelcyk #48 of the Boston Bruins talk during a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins at PPG PAINTS Arena on April 21, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

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The Boston Bruins announced three Friday surgeries for defensemen: Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, and Mike Reilly.

Bruins defensemen McAvoy, Grzelcyk, Reilly all undergo surgeries

  • Charlie McAvoy’s surgery involved “a left shoulder arthroscopic stabilization procedure.” The Norris-tier defensemen needs approximately six months to recover. That could land him in the December range. (Of course, hockey players sometimes beat those recovery windows ... yet shoulder surgeries are also no joke, so there’s room for movement.)
  • Matt Grzelcyk also needed shoulder surgery, in his case, on his right. His window for recovery is about five months. Friday was a busy one for Dr. Tom Holovacs.
  • Finally, Dr. Robert Anderson went to work on Mike Reilly’s right ankle. His recovery estimate is the most manageable: three months.

At this point, you’re likely aware that Charlie McAvoy is one of the best defensemen in the NHL. By extension, he’s one of the more valuable players in the NHL.

Look no further than this Evolving Hockey GAR chart and you’ll see McAvoy in the top 20 skaters.


Though not at McAvoy’s level, Reilly and especially Grzelcyk have been important to the Bruins’ stingy defense, too. Consider how McAvoy and Grzelcyk rank among the Bruins’ best players by metrics including GAR:


Banged-up defense adds to Bruins’ offseason uncertainty

All things considered, it could be a bumpy ride for the Boston Bruins. On the bright side, there are scenarios where it could work out well -- maybe exceptionally so.

These injuries set the stage for some early-season (maybe even half-season?) struggles. Then, of course, veteran centers must make key decisions.

Considering some of the gestures he made at the end of the Bruins’ run, it wouldn’t be shocking if 36-year-old center Patrice Bergeron retires. Either way, the Bruins await an answer from the likely 2022 Selke Trophy winner.

Interestingly, there may be a chance David Krejci could return to the NHL after a year overseas.

That sets up quite the series of possible swings. Theoretically, the Bruins could have one, both, or neither of David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron in their lineup next season. (Honestly, they’d be wise to bend over backwards for both of them, even if it means bringing them in months into the season, as they did with Tuukka Rask.)

Also, the Bruins may want to gain some clarity about David Pastrnak’s future. The 26-year-old’s on a devilish steal of a deal ($6,666,667 cap hit), but that expires after 2022-23. It may be in Boston’s best interest to figure out what his next contract will cost now, rather than later.

(Assuming they wouldn’t blow things up, an idea that would become at least slightly more feasible if Bergeron and Krejci are gone.)

Jeremy Swayman would be an RFA after next season, too.

Overall, the Bruins need to clear some things up. Now it’s clear that the Bruins are likely to begin the season without McAvoy, Grzelcyk, and perhaps Reilly in the lineup.