Outside the front door of the Emmons Horrigan O’Neil Rink in Charlestown, the most obvious thing to the south is the TD Garden, and Charlestown’s Matt Grzelcyk made that incredible journey from the Town’s youth hockey rink to the professional arena across the bridge, and this week he is celebrating four more years with the Bruins to savor and opportunity he said “means everything to me.”
Grzelcyk signed a four-year, $14.75 million contract with the Bruins last weekend, ensuring he’ll spend a great deal more time in his hometown playing for his favorite team – the Bruins.
“Being from Boston and having the opportunity to play for the Bruins means so much to me,” he said on Monday during a press conference. “It wasn’t about betting on myself or getting the most money possible. I really wanted to, if possible, be locked up as long as I could. This is the place I want to be and the opportunity I want to have. I had the mindset of being locked up and having that security and remaining in Boston as long as I can.”
Grzelcyk told Eric Russo of BostonBruins.com that he definitely wanted to honor his parents, John and Kathleen Grzelcyk, with his new contract, noting that his parents from the Town got him to where he is now.
“They’re the main reason I’m in the position I’m in right now and I’m so thankful to have two great parents like them and be surrounded by so many great people in my life,” he said.
Despite a crazy COVID postseason finish, the Bruins had a top finish last season (which was only a few months ago), but there have been a number of changes to the roster already and potentially more to come. That could leave a big opportunity for Grzelcyk to step up as a lead defenseman in the lineup. That’s something that isn’t lost on him, he said, and he’s preparing to come to camp ready to contribute on offense.
“It’s up in the air for sure, but I think my job is come in and skate as best as possible,” he said. “It’s no secret the defense, as a whole, we want to add more offense to our game and that’s something I take pride in. I want to come back with a new mindset of wanting to initiate more on the offensive side of the puck. I think we’ll need that to have success. If we want to take that next step as a team, we’ll need to rely on our defense to keep pushing pucks up north and wanting to play offense…It’s up to me to come back a better player and take advantage of that.”
Beyond that, Grzelcyk said he feels healthy and ready to come into training camp with confidence.
“I’m in a good spot,” he said. “I feel as healthy as I’ve felt in a couple of years. I think I’m in my prime with my body and where it’s at and putting on size and strength. I think now I’m going to add to my game offensively and grow in my confidence that way.”