The left side of the Bruins' blue line might still have a few vacancies that need to be filled, but Boston managed to lock up at least one key contributor for the foreseeable future on its D corps — as the club announced Saturday evening that it signed Matt Grzelcyk to a four-year contract worth an annual cap hit of $3,687,500.
Grzelcyk, 26, appeared in 68 games with the Bruins in 2019-20, tallying four goals and 17 assists for 21 points with a plus-15 rating. The Charlestown native has appeared in 197 career NHL games with the Bruins over the last three seasons, primarily serving in a third-pairing role next to the likes of Kevan Miller, Connor Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon. A restricted free agent entering the 2020 offseason, Grzelcyk elected for a salary arbitration hearing in order to hash out the value of his new contract with Boston — but both player and team ultimately agreed to terms on a new contract before the arbitration hearing – set for Oct. 20 — got underway.
"It took a while to find a landing spot," Don Sweeney said of working out a new contract with Grzelcyk. "There are a lot of variables in play. We have RFA guys signing at UFA marketplace that people are trying to get a read on, and then the projection piece moving forward. The league has to get back on track with the schedule. In a flat cap environment for the next couple years, and sort of projecting out where all the players fit. And where they feel comfortable. Ultimately, it’s the players decision. As far as how far apart we were, we had a gap. We had to breach some things.
"We had to work at it. And I’m thankful to (agent) Peter Fish, to and Matt for working through it. And all the work that Evan Gold did in a pre-brief situation as well as working with the arbiter, the lawyers. We understood firmly where the [arbitration] case may land, but then it’s up to an arbitrator to make that decision, so you never know exactly where that is going to be finalized. And we preferred to pursue it at a longer-term deal, we were fortunate enough to get that done."
With Grzelcyk back in the fold, the Bruins have roughly $8 million available in cap space for the rest of their offseason to-do list, headlined by a pending contract for another RFA in Jake DeBrusk.