Neither the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup-winning team nor the roster that made a bid for the Cup again in 2013 boasted a single player from the Boston area.
In 2019, the tables have turned. Three Bruins grew up in the Boston area: Matt Grzelcyk is from Charlestown, Charlie Coyle is from Weymouth, and Chris Wagner is from Walpole. All three have made meaningful contributions along the way to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.
Not to be confused with:
The Mayor of Walpole | @chriswags23
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 13, 2019
Though Grzelcyk is just 25, he is the longest-tenured Boston-area native on the Bruins.
Grzelcyk was born and raised in Charlestown, just on the other side of the Charles River from TD Garden. His father, John, is a longtime member of the Bull Gang, the team that converts the ice rink’s surface to a basketball court or plain floor for other events hosted at the arena.
After the Bruins selected Grzelcyk in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, he enrolled at Boston University and played four years for the Terriers. He scored 95 points from the blue line in 125 collegiate games, captained the team in his final two seasons, and won the 2015 Beanpot against Northeastern with an overtime goal.
Grzelcyk cracked the Bruins’ NHL roster full-time in 2017 and has evolved into a quality three-zone defenseman. He has tallied seven points in 17 games in the playoffs, including two goals in the Bruins’ Game 2 win over the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference final.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 23, 2019
“Just to be on this stage and be a part of this team, I kind of pinch myself every day,” Grzelyck told the Boston Globe after his Game 2 performance.
Coyle, a Weymouth native, joined the Bruins just ahead of the trade deadline this season in a deal that sent prospect Ryan Donato to the Minnesota Wild.
In 2007, Coyle played a supporting role in Weymouth High’s trip to the Super 8 finals as a freshman. His stint with his hometown high school was short-lived, though; he attended Thayer Academy in Braintree for the next two years and recorded 48 points in 26 games in 2008-09.
Coyle returned to Weymouth High for his senior year, but he played with the Eastern Junior League’s South Shore Kings rather than Weymouth’s own team in order to better prepare himself for playing at Boston University. Coyle scored 63 points in 42 games with the Kings and endeared himself enough to professional teams that he was selected in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Sharks.
Coyle left BU midway through his second year to play in the Quebec Major Junior League and turned pro in 2012. He spent his first six full NHL seasons with the Wild before the Bruins acquired his services on Feb. 20.
Coyle was quiet on the score sheet through the end of the regular season (six points in 21 games), but he caught fire at the onset of the playoffs. He scored three goals in the Bruins’ first-round series against the Maple Leafs, two goals (including the overtime game-winner) against the Blue Jackets on April 25, and put up four points total during the Bruins’ sweep of the Hurricanes.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 26, 2019
Wagner’s fantastic year (83 points) earned him a spot on Colgate University’s hockey team, and the Ducks selected him in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft – 94 picks after Coyle was drafted. He played two seasons at Colgate (70 points in 79 career games) before turning pro after the 2011-12 season, signing with the Ducks organization.
He played stints on the Avalanche and Islanders, too, before signing with the Bruins in free agency last July. Wagner made a name for himself around the NHL for his hard-hitting (his 253 hits in 2017-18 were third-most in the league) and energetic style of play, but his return to Boston marked, in a small way, a return to his high-scoring days in Foxborough with the South Shore Kings. Wagner recorded 12 goals and 19 total points in his first season with the Bruins, both career highs. He scored two goals against the Hurricanes before suffering an arm injury blocking a shot in Game 3.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 15, 2019
Despite the Bruins’ long wait between the end of their third-round series and the start of the Cup Final, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Wagner is unlikely to return in Game 1 against the Blues on May 27.