Player Rating: 7.8
It’s hard to really succinctly sum up Charlie McAvoy’s NHL career to this point, but a good way to put it that he’s been as advertised.
McAvoy was ultra-hyped coming out of college, and in his first NHL action, he didn’t do much aside from averaging 26 minutes of TOI in 6 playoff games. NOT BAD.
In the two regular seasons since, McAvoy’s game has continued to evolve. He’s become the Bruins’ most valuable defenseman, a dynamic player who’s solid in his own end and a weapon on offense.
So...yeah, he’s been about as good as Bruins fans hoped he’d be.
If you look at his stats, his first two NHL seasons have been nearly identical. 32 points vs. 28, 5 even-strength goals vs. 6, 54.8% vs. 54.1% CF%, etc.
But over that time, McAvoy has evolved into a more reliable player in all three zones. He plays a solid all-around game, is good at moving the puck, and is probably one of the Bruins’ best skaters.
Weirdly enough for a player with his skill set, McAvoy had a pretty ineffective year on the power play. During the regular season, McAvoy played the third-most PP minutes of any Bruins defenseman. It's worth noting that he almost always played onthe second pairing, however.
In those minutes, he only had 1 power play goal and 1 power play assist. With Torey Krug serving as the puck-moving offensive PP specialist, the Bruins don’t really need to rely heavily on McAvoy to make huge contributions with the man advantage.
Still, a little more production would be nice, and will be a necessity if Krug ends up playing for another team after (or during) this season.
The more advanced stats paint a similar picture: McAvoy was elite at 5v5, but the opposite on the power play.
Shawn, who knows far more about this stuff than me, cites a small sample size as being the main reason these numbers look bad.
Still, with most hockey being played at even strength, that’s where you’d rather a player excel, and excel he did (according to the analytics).
The best part? McAvoy’s only 21, and the common cliche is that defensemen take longer to develop than forwards. If that’s the case, we might not have seen McAvoy at Full Charlie quite yet.
The only knock you could probably throw at McAvoy is that he didn't really IMPROVE in a big way this season. But when you're already good-to-great, staying good-to-great is...well, it's pretty good/great.
The bigger question looming right now is what’s going to happen with McAvoy’s contract. He’s clearly played his way into quite a payday. The only question remaining is just how big that payday is going to be.
The Bruins would be wise to try to avoid the bridge deal route with McAvoy. As stated above, he’s almost certainly only going to get better in the coming years. If anything, a bridge deal would probably only lead to a bigger contract down the line.
McAvoy was good last year, and is going to be good for a while. Hopefully the Bruins get something done to keep that good here for the foreseeable future.