A trio of Boston Bruins defensemen underwent significant surgeries today, with two of them expected to miss the beginning of the 2022-23 campaign, per the team. Most notably, Charlie McAvoy had a left shoulder arthroscopic stabilization procedure that’s set to sideline him for six months, meaning he won’t make his season debut until early December. Additionally, Matt Grzelcyk will miss five months after a right shoulder open stabilization procedure and Mike Reilly will miss three months after a right ankle tendon repair and removal of bone fragments.
Having Marchand and McAvoy out of the lineup, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Patrice Bergeron’s NHL future, will be incredibly tough to navigate for this Bruins squad. Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak will be relied on very heavily for the first weeks of the season to keep the team from imploding.
However, if there’s good out of any of this for Bruins fans, it’s salary considerations. With Grzelcyk, Marchand, and McAvoy potential candidates for long-term injured reserve out of the gate, the team could have upwards of $15MM set aside on LTIR. This would give the team ample time into the season to figure out their salary picture, rather than just being constrained by the offseason. Prior to the injuries, the Bruins had just $4MM in cap space without Bergeron on the roster. The team had no real flexibility in free agency, but that might change if they can play their cards right.
It’s still a gutting loss, though, to have a top-ten defenseman in the league out of the lineup. Trade Deadline acquisition Hampus Lindholm will need to live up to his extension immediately, and that’s a lot of pressure for an also injury-prone defenseman. Head coach Bruce Cassidy will open the 2022-23 season undoubtedly facing the rockiest road he’s had so far as coach of this team. The team’s goal will be desperation mode until their stars are back, hopefully not falling too far back of the strong Atlantic Division pack.