At this point, the news of the Bruins having to start the season without Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk is about two months old. The question is which Bruins defenseman are going to be able to step up and fill the void. Regardless of your opinion on Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, it is hard to argue the fact that he has supplied the team with plenty of defensive depth. The team will have some options there as they try to make another run for the Stanley Cup this season.
The biggest defensive piece the Bruins currently have healthy is Hampus Lindholm. Lindholm was acquired by the team through trade last season and he wasted no time making his presence known in Boston. He helped the Bruins clinch a playoff spot and take the Carolina Hurricanes to seven games in the first round. Sweeney wasted no time making sure Lindholm would be sticking around as signed him to an eight-year contract extension worth $52 million.
Connor Clifton will also be carrying a heavier load to get things started this season. Clifton has seen his role increase each year he has been with the team and I expect that to continue in his age 27 season. He helped the team out a lot by carrying some of the weight when Hampus Lindholm and Charlie McAvoy both had to miss time in the playoffs last season. He did well in that position, so maybe that proves he can do well in a similar one.
Brandon Carlo is another key piece to look out for as the Bruins try to find their defensive footing without McAvoy and Grzelcyk. He played in all but three games last season and has proven to be a productive defenseman during his six years with the Bruins. He has been a part of the first defensive pair before so he should be able to handle that role again in 2022.
Losing players is never good, especially key pieces such as Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk, but this team still has what they need to play solid defense in their absence.