BostonBruins.com - As the Bruins seventh annual Development Camp got under way on Wednesday with the first on-ice practice session, a crowd of media gathered around the stall of local defenseman Matt Grzelcyk.
There always seems to be a buzz around New England players drafted by the Bruins and Grzelcyk, a Charlestown native, is no exception.
The nineteen year old cordially answered all of the media’s questions but underneath it all was the focus and determination to improve as a professional hockey player and let nothing come in his way: not even his size.
“This year was a very big learning experience for myself,” said Grzelcyk about his first year playing for the local Boston University Terriers. “I just learned how to control bigger and stronger guys. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve been working on.”
Grzelcyk, a third round selection in the 2012 Draft, certainly did not let his 5’9 size detract from his successful first year at BU. He had 3 goals and chipped in with 20 assists to go along with a +12 rating. He lead all BU defenseman in assists and points while his plus 12 rating ranked second on the team.
The experience of playing in a tough division in college hockey has increased Grzelcyk’s confidence heading into his second camp.
“I think coming in here I felt much more prepared using the experience of last year so it’s been very fun so far,” said Grzelcyk.
Although unable to attend any of the Boston Bruins playoff games in person, Grzelcyk was impressed with the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
“I think they definitely had a great season and they should be very proud of it,” said Grzelcyk on the Bruins playoff run.
Throughout the Bruins playoff run, Grzelcyk took notice of the stellar play of defenseman Torey Krug in particular, who, despite his similar 5 foot 9 frame, became a fan favorite after a strong performance in the second round against the New York Rangers.
“For me, I think all the players really work very hard, but I think for my size—this playoffs at least I watched a lot of Torey Krug just seeing how he played. He had that tremendous stretch for them. He stepped up and played a big role so I definitely watched a lot of him.”
Grzelcyk hopes that his development during this camp can contribute to another productive season at Boston University, especially with the increased competition that he will face this year.
“I think we have a pretty cool schedule this year,” said Grzelcyk about what he is looking forward to. “A lot of good out of conference games. I think we play Wisconsin and North Dakota comes.”
Although this upcoming year looks promising for Grzelcyk in terms of furthering his development, the most exciting events in his mind will be playing on Fenway Park and playing against town rival Boston College.
“I think the biggest thing is you always like the Beanpot, but we’re playing Frozen Fenway this year,” said Grzelcyk. “I played there for my prep school team at Belmont Hill in ninth grade so that was a great experience and I’m hoping that can be the same way this year.”
Playing Boston College this year will become even more prominent for Grzelcyk because of his friendship with 2013 fourth round pick, North Reading native, and BC commit Ryan Fitzgerald.
“We first started when we were real young playing in summer tournaments things like that,” said Grzelcyk on how he met Fitzgerald. “We played on the same Middlesex team growing up. I think this year playing against BC—I already played against a couple of my friends.”
“It was a little bit different but once you get on the ice it’s very competitive and you’re no longer friends when you’re on the ice so it will definitely be fun seeing him out there for warm-ups and things like that. It will be a good experience.”