Islanders can take advantage of Bruins cap crunch to acquire defense

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders - Game Six
Boston Bruins v New York Islanders - Game Six / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Matt Grzelcyk
Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Matt Grzelcyk

Matt Grzelcyk is a homegrown Bruin that was selected by Boston in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft, 85th overall. Grzelcyk has been a steady defenseman for the B's since the 2017-18 season, averaging about 18.5 minutes of TOI for the last five seasons. He had a career-high in points in 2021-22 scoring four goals and 24 points.

Grzelcyk spent the majority of 2021-22 as a duo with Brandon Carlo and the two led all Bruins defensemen with 578:33 of TOI at 5on5, just about 50 minutes more than the next defensive pair. He's an analytical darling that owns a 55.87 CF%, 62.38 GF%, and a 60.39 xGF%. The 28-year-old defenseman would pair very well next to Dobson in the Islanders' top-four on the blueline coming from a Bruins system that plays a similar defensive style.

The Islanders need to be conscious with their contracts whether it's coming in or going out, and Grzelcyk is on a very manageable deal with two years remaining at $3,687,500 per season. His manageable cap hit would allow Lamoriello to fit in Dobson's new contract this summer and pursue a top-line forward he's seeking to play with Mathew Barzal.

The thing about acquiring Grzelcyk is that he just had successful shoulder surgery that will put him out for five months. That being said, a five-month absence gives him a timeline to return by November. Due to the fact that he'd be missing time to start the season, Lamoriello could surely negotiate a cheaper price via trade that will benefit the Islanders in the long run.

Grzelcyk in addition to Dobson, Pulock, and Pelech would give the Islanders an excellent top-four that could certainly help propel them back to the playoffs. If the Bruins want their captain to remain and want to extend their young goaltender, Sweeney will need to shed some salary and Lamoriello should surely be asking about Grzelcyk.