With the 2015-16 regular season just weeks away, the Boston University Terriers will likely be forced to take the ice on opening night without their captain.
Senior defenseman and Bruins draft pick Matt Grzelcyk is expected to miss the start of BU’s campaign as he recovers from offseason knee surgery — with no set timetable for a return date.
Mark Divver of the Providence Journal originally reported on news of Grzelcyk’s injury, while CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty added that the Charlestown native damaged his knee during practice and played the final eight games of BU’s season last year with the ailment.
Once the 2014-15 season concluded, Haggerty added that Grzelcyk received word from doctors that the injury would require ACL surgery, forcing him to avoid skating for the entire summer.
Despite the debilitating setback, Terrier head coach David Quinn noted that Grzelcyk has made significant strides as of late, but added that BU’s prized blue liner is under no pressure to make a quick return to the lineup.
"He’s doing well. He’s been skating," Quinn said. "We’re going to take our time with it, though. There’s certainly no rush getting him back. We’re going to err on the side of caution. When they think he’s ready, I want to wait another few weeks.
"There’s no real set timetable, but when he is out there, I want him to be 100 percent — mentally and physically — convinced that this is the right time to come back."
Drafted by the Bruins in the third round (85th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Grzelcyk has served as an integral part of BU’s defensive corps during his tenure on Commonwealth Avenue, tallying 72 points in 98 career games while boasting a plus-38 rating in three seasons.
In his first go-around as captain of the Terriers last year, the 5-foot-10 Grzelcyk captured CCM First Team All-American and Hockey East First Team All-Star honors after finishing fourth in the nation in points per game among defenseman (0.95) and helping BU advance all the way to the national championship game.
While losing Grzelcyk for any stretch of time serves as a blow for the Terriers, the team does possess some insurance, as BU’s five remaining starters on defense from last year's Frozen Four squad are set to return, while U-18 NTDP product Charlie McAvoy and AJHL d-man Shane Switzer are expected to contribute off the blue line as freshmen.
"I’m not trying to have that problem — of only having three good defensemen," Quinn said. "We have eight. We have a lot of confidence in all eight and that’s sports. The top six will play night in and night out and the two that aren’t playing well will have to play better. It’s that simple."