Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05: Mason Lohrei #6 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins have made a number of roster moves on their defense, amid multiple major losses on the blue line.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney announced Wednesday that Matt Grzelcyk is going on long-term injured reserve. This means that the B’s expect Grzelcyk to miss at least 10 games or 24 days. The earliest he’d be able to return to the Bruins would be Saturday, Nov. 25, when they take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Coupled with Charlie McAvoy’s 4-game suspension, the Bruins will be without their top defensive pairing for more than a week, and will have to replace Grzelcyk for longer than that.

There’s a silver lining to the Grzelcyk injury: the Bruins are giving 22-year-old defenseman Mason Lohrei the call-up to Boston as one of their corresponding moves.

Oct. 3, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Mason Lohrei (6) gets set for a face-off during overtime against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Oct. 3, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Mason Lohrei (6) gets set for a face-off during overtime against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Lohrei has tallied four assists in seven games with Providence so far. P-Bruins broadcaster David Maher described Lohrei’s most recent work as “his best game of the season so far.”

There’s a big opportunity ahead for Lohrei, who appears poised to officially make his NHL debut in the coming days and weeks. Originally a second-round pick to Boston in 2020, Lohrei has long been the Bruins’ best defensive prospect and a potential future building block on the left side.

However, it’s not guaranteed that Lohrei plays a ton after his call-up, for a number of reasons. One is that the Bruins made other roster moves, which we’ll detail below…

  • Mitchell, Wotherspoon Called Up

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05: Ian Mitchell #14 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 05: Ian Mitchell #14 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    The Bruins have two defensemen to replace for the next week-plus, so they’ve also called up right-shot defenseman Ian Mitchell. A free-agent addition in the off-season, Mitchell played two games at the start of the season and scored an assist, while averaging just 10:41 of ice time.

    In addition, the Bruins brought left-shot defenseman Parker Wotherspoon to the big club. Wotherspoon, 26, played his first 12 NHL games last season with the New York Islanders.

    It’s possible that the Bruins may want to ease Lohrei in, but head coach Jim Montgomery told reporters Tuesday that he expects Lohrei to play on Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, on a pairing with Brandon Carlo.

    Lohrei certainly didn’t get called up to sit up on the ninth floor all month. But it wouldn’t be surprising if Montgomery reversed course for the Toronto game and played Wotherspoon instead. He’s not shy about mixing things up.

  • Lauko To IR

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 24: Jakub Lauko #94 of the Boston Bruins reacts after being hit in the eye with a skate by Jason Dickinson #16 of the Chicago Blackhawks (not pictured) during the third period at the United Center on October 24, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 24: Jakub Lauko #94 of the Boston Bruins reacts after being hit in the eye with a skate by Jason Dickinson #16 of the Chicago Blackhawks (not pictured) during the third period at the United Center on October 24, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    Jakub Lauko needs a little more time to recover from a facial laceration and contusion suffered on Oct. 24. Lauko took a skate to the face – and had a sense of humor about it after the fact. In light of the tragic death of Adam Johnson last week, Lauko is a fortunate fellow to only get a cut and a bruise.

    The Bruins didn’t call up any forwards as part of their most recent transactions. So, they’re expected to keep rolling with the group they’ve had in recent days. They recently signed old friend Danton Heinen ahead of Monday night’s win over the Panthers, while Oskar Steen and Patrick Brown have also been filling in on the fourth line.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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