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Penguins Sign LHD Matt Grzelcyk; Details & Scouting Report



Pittsburgh Penguins free agency, Matt Grzelcyk

The Pittsburgh Penguins needed a left-side defenseman and got one as the NHL free-agent frenzy began its second hour. The Penguins signed former Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to a one-year deal.

PHN can confirm the contract and the $2.75 million salary.

The Penguins created an additional need for an LHD Sunday afternoon when they non-tendered P.O Joseph, leaving just five defensemen on the NHL roster and just two left-side defenders.

Grzelcyk, 30, is a good skating, puck-moving defenseman who can play fast but lacks size. He’s just 5-foot-9, 174 pounds, but has been a valuable member of the Bruins penalty kill. In Boston he played about 17 minutes per night.

Last season, he slumped to only 11 points (2-9-11) in 63 games but has been a reliable defenseman, scoring in the 20-point range in the previous four seasons.

He played college hockey at Boston U under new Penguins assistant coach David Quinn in 2015-16. Grzelcyk was Boston’s third-round pick (85th overall) in 2012. Boston selected him two picks after the Penguins selected Matt Murray and one pick before St. Louis selected Colton Parayko.

Preliminarily, he would seem to be a nice counterbalance to third-pairing defenseman Jack St. Ivany, who is a steady, stay-home defenseman who likes to clear the net front. Grzelcyk would provide forward mobility on the pairing and perhaps a bit of offense.

He can also run the power play should Kris Letang or Erik Karlsson not be available or coaches figure out how to use them on the same unit.