SCOC Rating: 9.1
Reader Rating: 9.3
I could probably make this review extremely short, and just leave it at the sentence below:
Charlie McAvoy had a fantastic season, firmly established himself as one of the league’s best defenseman, and should be in the Norris conversation for years to come.
However, you fine folks come here to read words, so let’s give you some words!
While McAvoy has been good for a while now, last season seemed like one that you could call his “coming out party” as a truly elite defenseman.
With Zdeno Chara skipping town, last year was our first seeing what we could call “Charlie McAvoy’s defense.”
It was McAvoy’s first chance to lead the defense corps, and it’s fair to say that he did very well.
McAvoy continued to excel in all three zones, whether it was rushing the puck, starting breakouts, or throwing the occasional big hit.
McAvoy also put up the best P/60 (in all situations) number of his career at 1.5. He was excellent in the playoffs as well, averaging better than a point per game on what was an increasingly depleted Bruins defense corps.
Simply put, Charlie McAvoy was good. He was this good:
Charlie McAvoy might be the best 5v5 defenceman in the NHL, and he had another elite season for the Bruins. Unfortunately for him, he generally stinks on the powerplay so he doesn't get those sweet, sweet Point Totals. #NHLBruins pic.twitter.com/X8AbN7EKNz— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) June 9, 2021
That player card above highlights what could be one gripe about McAvoy, in that he isn’t exactly an elite point-producer on the power play.
However, he also took a pretty big step forward in that department this past season, putting up a 4.7 P/60 mark on the power play (compared to 1.3 and 1.4 the prior two seasons).
It’s not a stretch to say that McAvoy should have been in the discussion to be a Norris Trophy finalist — in fact, you could argue that it was wild that he wasn’t a finalist (he ultimately finished 5th in voting).
So, what’s next for McAvoy? He has displayed an impressive amount of growth every season since becoming a full-time NHLer, and there’s little reason to believe that won’t continue.
This is Charlie McAvoy’s defense corps now, and you’d like to see him continue to grow as a leader and continue to lead by example, as he did last season.
As this season progresses, the biggest issue surrounding McAvoy is likely to be his contract — McAvoy will be a restricted free agent by season’s end, and will command a significant raise over his current $4.9 million AAV.
With Zdeno Chara gone, David Krejci probably gone, Tuukka Rask possibly gone, and Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on the back-nine of their careers, it’s fair to say that McAvoy and David Pastrnak could be considered the Bruins’ new “core.”
Given how good McAvoy is and how important he is to the Bruins’ future success, there’s no reason to think he won’t command an AAV in the range of the deals recently signed by Cale Makar and Seth Jones, namely approaching or exceeding $10 million.
(Interestingly, Adam Fox will also be a restricted free agent at season’s end. Fox has the hardware, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Fox’s and McAvoy’s agents comparing notes as contract negotiations begin.)
If you’re the Bruins, there’s little reason to not pay McAvoy what he’s worth. When he was drafted, we all heard how McAvoy as the #1 d-man of the future, and the future is now.
McAvoy has been excellent as a Bruin, getting better every year. Hopefully sooner rather than later, we’re discussing news of a long-term contract that has McAvoy anchoring the Bruins’ blue line for years to come.