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Boston Bruins: Charlie McAvoy future franchise defenseman?

Boston Bruins: A look a Charlie McAvoy’s early NHL career, and outlook for 2017/18 and beyond.


Boston Bruins

Unless you are a Boston Bruins’ fan, you may not know much about Charlie McAvoy, considering he has yet to play a single regular season game in the NHL.

First and foremost, he is the 14th overall pick of the Boston Bruins back in the 2016 NHL Draft. McAvoy garnered the attention of many NHL scouts while playing in the U.S. National Development program from 2013 to 2015. He was regarded as one of the top defensemen available in the draft which also included Olli Juolevi, Mikhail Sergachev, Jake Bean and Jakob Chychrun.

According to scouting reports at the Hockeywriters.com, “McAvoy has the potential to play on a team’s top two pairings. While he might not be guaranteed a top pairing job, he can certainly play himself into one.”

The Long Beach, New York native’s NHL player comparison is none other than Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings. That alone should have Bruins fans excited!

There is plenty to like about Boston’s defense going forward. They already have Brandon Carlo and other high-end prospects like Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon on their way. If you add McAvoy into the mix, it looks like the Bruins have found a nice defensive corps for years to come.

This is especially refreshing for a team that has seen captain Zdeno Chara slowly decline over the years, meanwhile losing some big names in Dougie Hamilton and Johnny Boychuk.

Going forward, McAvoy appears to be the lead anchor of the Boston Bruins’ blueline and should be able to make a huge impact on the team very soon.

McAvoy’s 2016/17 Season

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The 2016/17 hockey season was a very eventful one for McAvoy. He started the year playing his sophomore season for Boston University. He then represented Team USA at the 2017 World Junior Championships and caught the attention of the hockey world by winning a gold medal and being voted the Finals MVP.

After his season at BU ended, McAvoy decided to end his college career and signed an amateur try-out with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL team. Not long after, he signed his three-year NHL entry-level contract and found himself playing in the AHL.

In an interview with the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, McAvoy said: “The original plan was for him to get up to speed with the Providence Bruins and play the entirety of the AHL postseason there.

Which meant he didn’t expect to see NHL action until next fall, but things escalated quickly after B’s defenseman Brandon Carlo went down with a concussion late in the season. The Bruins needed help on defense, and after just four games in the AHL, McAvoy was called up to play in the NHL.

He was thrown straight into the deep end, as his first NHL game would be in round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Ottawa Senators. Surprisingly, despite having zero NHL experience, McAvoy did not look out of place. At times he looked like a 10-year-NHL veteran and even appeared to be the Bruins’ best defenseman on various occasions.

McAvoy also quickly earned the trust of Boston’s head coach Bruce Cassidy, as he went on to average 26:12 minutes in the series. Even though the Senators eliminated the Bruins in the first round, McAvoy managed to record three assists in his first six NHL games of his career.

McAvoy’s play and potential for the Boston Bruins

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As aforementioned, the American has potential to be a top-pairing defenseman in the NHL someday. Heading into the Bruins’ training camp this fall, he should be able to lock up a roster spot somewhere on the team’s top-four.

McAvoy is a great puck-moving defenseman, who can make plays from the blueline with plenty of offensive upside. As seen in the playoffs, he will likely find himself being the quarterback of the Bruins’ power play for this upcoming season.

Furthermore, for such a skilled puck-moving defenseman, McAvoy has also had the ability to deliver bone-crushing hits despite his relatively small stature at 6’0″. This is rarely seen amongst NHL offensive defenseman, aside from maybe P. K. Subban and Drew Doughty.

His physicality is definitely something that sets him apart from many skilled defensemen in the NHL, and Bruins’ fans should recognize and appreciate McAvoy’s skill sets in that regard.

McAvoy’s outlook for 2017/18 and beyond

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We have obviously seen a very small sample size of what McAvoy can do in the NHL. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect him to come in next season and be a Norris Trophy defenseman for the Bruins.

After all, 2017/18 will be his first full-season in the NHL, and there will be an adjustment period along with some growing pains as well. Especially considering that in college, he never had to play more than 40 games a season, meanwhile, he could be playing north of 82 games for the Bruins next year.

However, if the playoffs are any indication of his abilities, McAvoy might be able to be a 30-40 point defenseman and be a huge impact for the Bruins next year.

The rookie class coming into the NHL next season doesn’t look as strong as years past (Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine), so winning the Calder trophy could be a possibility for McAvoy as well.

In order for the Bruins to keep up with all the teams in the Atlantic Division, McAvoy will need to play a huge role in improving his team’s defense, next year and beyond.

To round off, McAvoy looks to be a special player for the Bruins going forward and it will be intriguing to see what type of impact he makes on the franchise for the upcoming campaign.

What is Charlie McAvoy’s outlook in the NHL? Comment in the section below and be sure to vote in the poll.

  1. What is Charlie McAvoy's ceiling in the NHL?

    1. 1st pairing defenseman
    2. 2nd pairing defenseman
    3. 3rd pairing defenseman
    100 votes
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CP Ching

Avid sports fan from Hong Kong, holding University degrees unrelated to sports and journalism. Like everyone, I have many passions, and they include writing about the NHL and the NBA ? 

  • Michael Chafe

    1st pair

Boston Bruins: Charlie McAvoy future franchise defenseman?

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