Bruins: U.S. National Team Development Program
June, 23, 2012
By Scott Barboza | ESPNBoston.com
After making waves with their first-round pick on Friday night, the Boston Bruins kept things close to home for their third-round selection in the NHL entry draft.
Gregory Shamus/NHLI/Getty ImagesBruins draft pick and Charlestown native Matt Grzelcyk will play at Boston University next season.
With the 85th overall selection, the Bruins tabbed United States National Team Development Program U-18 (USHL) defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. The 5-foot-9, 171-pound, puck-moving blueliner is a Charlestown, Mass., native who grew up a stone's throw away from the TD Garden.
Being drafted by the Bruins isn't Grzelcyk's only link to the Bruins. His father, John, is a longtime member of the "bull gang" at the Garden.
The 18-year-old will bring his hockey game back to Boston next season when he joins Boston University. Grzelcyk was also a member of the gold medal-winning Team USA squad that claimed its fourth straight title at the IIHF World Men's Under-18 Championship in April.
• Here's a snippet of Grzelcyk's reaction to being taken by the hometown team today, courtesy of the Bruins communications staff:
On whether he had any indication from the Bruins that they might draft him: "I met with them, so I mean I kind of had a rough idea, but you know I didn’t really come in with high expectations. So, it’s kind of a shock, but I couldn’t be happier."
On whether 84th was where he hoped and expected to be picked: "Not really, no, to be honest. You know I wasn’t ranked that high, I’m kind of a smaller guy, so it was pretty unexpected, but what can you say, you can’t go wrong."
On going through the draft with so many New England players:
"It’s great to see. I’ve known these kids ever since I was young, so it’s kind of a surreal feeling to be here with them and I’m just happy to share it with them."
On how his time with USA Hockey has helped him develop as a player: "It was probably the best two years of my life, you know I feel like I really needed the development and that’s exactly what I got. Being a part of that gold-medal team was just the best feeling I’ve had in hockey so far and couldn’t be happier that I stayed and had my time there in Ann Arbor."
On whether he’s ready to handle the pressure of playing for his hometown: "Yeah, definitely. I mean obviously there’s going to be a lot of people like my family and stuff, but I’ve always had this dream to play for the Bruins and hopefully that comes true one day."
• Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli touched on Grzelcyk's game earlier this week during his pre-draft conference call with the media. Here's what Chiarelli had to say:
"The Grzelcyk kid’s a very good, mobile defenseman. He’s later on down but he’s got a good head on his shoulders.”
• Here's what Bruins director of amateur scouting Wayne Smith had to say on Grzelcyk's selection today:
"Well he’s the type of kid that plays much bigger than he is. He’s got a Bruin mentality. He plays to win; he plays hard; he’s hard to play against; he plays a virtually mistake-free game. His decision-making and his ability to move the puck is second-to-none in this draft. Obviously, it’s a great story that his father has worked at the Garden for  years. We brought him in to Boston in particular because we had keen interest in him, and after meeting with him, we just feel that he could be a part of helping us win another Stanley Cup."