Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III (Icon Sportswire)
The former BU Terrier is making sure that people see why the Bruins drafted him 14th overall in 2016. He has been a key part of a lineup and seems to be playing some of the most minutes not only on the Bruins but in the NHL. The Hockey News writer Matt Larkin had McAvoy 2nd in his rookie rankings behind Clayton Keller, which seems to be turning out to be relatively accurate. But as the season has progressed, there has been a number of other rookies making their case for the Rookie of the Year award. The tweet below is a look at some of the other players, mainly other defensemen that are competing for the Calder.
We’ve seen over the past few years just how important it is to have a great defense. A team like Nashville last year had a solid core and went far in the playoffs because of it. Players like Will Butcher and Mikhail Sergachev are direct Calder competition for McAvoy. But one thing that they don’t have is the minutes that McAvoy is playing currently. He has four more minutes per game played than the next highest of the rookies in the NHL at 23:36. Like I said in an article earlier this year, he is a key component to the Bruins lineup and hasn’t missed a game this year, something you don’t see rookies do too often.
McAvoy’s point production is pretty good for a rookie d-man. He’s third for the most amount of points by a rookie defencemen, and second for most goals at four. He is in the 13th spot for most points by a rookie total, trailing players like Mathew Barzal and Brock Boeser. His offensive skills pair well with Chara’s stay at home defense style. He is one of the players that “Quarterback” the Bruins power play, and he is adjusting well to doing so. He and Krug are usually a great 1-2 punch when the Bruins get on the PP.
Another part of McAvoy’s game that is an asset to the Bruins is his physicality. He is 35th overall in hits in the NHL with 63, equalling out for 2.6 hits per game. That’s the most of any of the other Bruins. But this comes with its downsides. He is third in most PIMS with 18 on the Bruins behind Miller and Chara. Usually, rookies take a while to adjust physically to the NHL, but McAvoy is fitting right in. He uses hits appropriately to separate the player from the puck, and you don’t see him flying around trying to take somebodies head off.
McAvoy may not be the first person you think of when you talk about rookies that are lighting up the scoresheets every night, but he is playing a veteran role as a rookie on the Bruins. And this is after never playing an AHL game. Just his two years in the USHL at 16/17 years old, two years at BU as an 18/19 old, and the six games in the playoffs last year. Incredible stuff from a rookie and he can hopefully only improve from here on out.
Theockeynews.com, NHL.com, Hockeydb.com, FoxSports.com