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Charlie McAvoy: Defensemen of the Bruins Future

Charlie McAvoy

Charlie McAvoy Profile

Usually, playoff teams keep their roster from the regular season. But due to injuries to defenseman Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, and Colin Miller, the Boston Bruins signed Charlie McAvoy, their 2016 1st round draft pick to an entry-level 3-year deal. This contract shows that the Bruins are desperate but it also shows how much confidence they have in this 19-year-old. He’s been consistently logging the 2nd most minutes for the Bruins against the Ottawa Senators in the series, most belonged to Zdeno Chara. McAvoy is also on the 1st powerplay line and even got an assist. He will be a big part of the Bruins future and it’s interesting to see how natural he already is.

It usually takes a while for defensemen to develop but McAvoy played well in a really pressurized game. The fact that the Bruins let gave him 24:11 minutes in his 1st NHL game, shows how much trust they already have in this guy. He said post-game, “I just try to bring it every single shift. It’s great to see [the Bruins] trusted me and gave me the ability to learn from my mistakes tonight.” Bruins will need McAvoy to continue to do well if they want to go far in the playoffs, especially if defensemen Krug, Carlo, McQuaid, and Colin Miller are out for a long time. There were some mistakes that led to a goal due to McAvoy in game 2 but they were bound to happen. Still, it wasn’t entirely McAvoy’s fault, Rask should have had it. Even if the Bruins lose, Charlie McAvoy will have plenty of learning experience throughout these playoffs.

Bruins fans and management are obviously very excited for this kid. Mostly because the Bruins have had a hectic three years. In 2015, Don Sweeney’s first big move as the Bruins GM was trading their promising young defensemen, Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for a 2015 1st round pick (Zachary Senyshyn) and 2 2015 2nd round picks (Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Jeremy Lauzon). Hamilton had 83 points in 178 games for the Bruins in his 3 seasons and was destined to be the defensemen after Chara retires. He reportedly turned down multiple contracts offers from the Bruins that would have paid him the same or more than what he got in Calgary. Who knows exactly why he wanted to leave, but one thing is for sure, Hamilton just didn’t want to stay in Boston long-term.

Having traded Johnny Boychuk the previous offseason, the Bruins defensive depth was Boston’s biggest weakness. The Bruins missed the playoffs by 1 point in the 2014-2015 season and lost the tie-breaker to Detroit in the 2015-2016 season. There were a couple of other reasons why the Bruins barely missed the playoffs twice in a row but those two trades were big reasons. This huge need for young defensemen caused the Bruins to draft Charlie McAvoy 14th overall in the 2016 NHL draft.

McAvoy was a Boston University freshmen when drafted and the 4th defensemen taken in the draft. McAvoy had 25 points in 37 games his freshmen year and 26 points in 36 games his sophomore year. That is .68 points per game, which is pretty good for a defenseman. However, his coming-out party was his appearance in the 2016 World Junior Championships, an international tournament that has all the top prospects. He got 6 points in 7 games including the game-tying goal in the gold medal game. McAvoy also got an assist in that game too. This tournament was where all the top prospects play in every year and McAvoy excelled in it, which is a good sign that he is going to be a star in this league. After BU got eliminated, McAvoy signed an ATO with the Bruins and played for the Providence Bruins, the Bruins AHL team to start. He had 2 points in those 4 games

Bruins defensemen have been a lot better this season. Thanks to improved play from Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid, and Colin Miller. Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara have always been good but they had a resurgence as well. Then we have Brandon Carlo, the rookie defensemen, who is another young player that Boston should be excited for. The 20-year-old Carlo doesn’t score a ton but he has been good defensively and paired with Chara. No one knows how long Krug, Carlo, C. Miller and McQuaid will be out, so now the depth of the Bruins defense will be tested in these playoffs.

From a fantasy perspective, McAvoy will be a player that should be owned in dynasty and keeper leagues coming into next season. However, the reason he is getting so much ice time right now is because of all the injuries to the defensemen. So, he may not get a ton of ice-time when everybody’s healthy. Krug should QB the Bruins power play when he’s healthy. However, McAvoy could take over that role as early as late next season. Maybe sooner, if McAvoy can prove he’s capable this postseason and in early regular season games. Don’t go trading Krug just yet. He still has value. But McAvoy will be waiting in the wings.

In the last two years, the Bruins drafted five defensemen. Jakub Zboril (2015 13th overall), Brandon Carlo (2015 37th overall), Jeremy Lauzon (2015 52nd overall), Charlie McAvoy (2016 14th overall), and Ryan Lindgren (2016 49th overall). Every one of those picks went to the World Juniors, except Carlo, and did quite well. If all goes to plan, the Bruins could have McAvoy, Krug, Carlo, Zboril, and Lauzon as their 6 defensemen in a couple of years. Boston’s young defensemen used to be the team’s biggest weakness, but now it’s one of their strengths. Boston has a couple of forwards to look forward to such as Senyshyn, Debrusk, Forsbacka-Karlsson, Gabrielle, and hopefully Bjork and Donato if they sign. Bruins finally have an exciting future and McAvoy is leading the charge.

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