( Above Photo Credit: NHL .com )
By: Spencer Fascetta Twitter: @PuckNerdHockey
To blatantly borrow a brilliant idea from one Steve Dangle, I have decided to build a prospect pyramid, rather than a ranking or list. Honestly, one could quibble over the exact placing of prospects on a list for hours, and it really isn’t worth the argument over such minuscule differences in opinion. Instead, I have provided 5 tiers of Bruins prospects, and a “Tweener” tier to collect players who don’t really qualify as prospects but are either Providence players signed to NHL deals or whose rights are held by Boston. The team for which each player played for in the 2016-17 season is displayed next to their name. For each of the next five weeks, I will release each successive tier of the pyramid. I look forward to your feedback, and hope you enjoy!
D Charlie McAvoy, Boston University (NCAA)
Acquired: 2016 NHL Draft (1st Round, 14th Overall)
2016-17 Season Stats: 38 GP, 5 G, 22 A, 26 P, 56 PIM
NHL Projection: Offensively Minded Top Pairing Defenseman
NHL Comparable: Zach Werenski (Columbus)
NHL ETA: 2017-18
The first tier is far and above the most exciting for Boston fans. Charlie McAvoy more than exceeded expectations this past season when he was pressed into Top 2 ice time in the NHL Playoffs with zero NHL experience, about 2 weeks out of playing college hockey. He is the definition of the modern NHL defenseman and even had superstar Erik Karlsson singing his praises after the Sens knocked Boston out of the 1st Round in 6 games. He is an early Calder Trophy candidate this season, and even if he performs to 75% of his ability, he will still be one of the Bruins’ top 2 defensemen.
The Drew Doughty comparison is a popular one, but I am hesitant to put that sort of pressure on a 19-year-old rookie. Instead, I feel he has the ability to provide the B’s with a similar level of impact as Columbus’ Zach Werenski did this past season, by quarterbacking a powerplay unit and pushing the play in the positive direction. McAvoy’s ability to make the smart pass on a breakout helps to stretch out the opposing defense. He is one of the strongest transition defensemen I have seen in quite a while.
He is a smooth, graceful skater, and, despite his high offensive upside, is more than willing to throw the body around, and do so effectively. Above all else, McAvoy’s hockey IQ is what puts him in this tier by himself; he thinks the game on a level some players can only dream of. Hockey IQ is one of, if not the most, underrated and underappreciated attributes a player can possess, as it can allow a less physically gifted player to compensate for his shortcomings. However, when the player has elite hockey IQ AND is incredibly skilled and physically gifted, that is when a player goes from good to elite.
All Statistics courtesy of EliteProspects.com
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