(Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By: Jason Cooke | Follow me on Twitter @cookejournalism

In Saturday night’s 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy reminded Bruins fans what he’s capable of when the puck is on his stick. When the elusive McAvoy came wheeling around the right face-off circle in the first period on a beeline to the goal, it may have reminded the Bruins faithful of another offensive-minded defenseman whose signature Stanley Cup-clinching goal is embedded in NHL history. McAvoy charged to the cage, sneaking the puck through Ville Husso’s legs as he dove across the crease in style. To his surprise, the red lamp behind the net flashed red.

On Monday night, McAvoy struck again. He didn’t hesitate to join a rush up ice, where David Pastrnak found his tape for an easy goal over the pad of Sergei Bobrovsky. McAvoy hasn’t reached the pinnacle of the great Bobby Orr, but their play styles are similar. Like Orr, McAvoy is a skilled blue-liner who isn’t afraid to lug the puck up ice with the motivation to score. He’s a phenomenal skater, he has soft hands, and he knows how to finish around the net. Even when he’s not lighting the lamp, something positive results when the puck is on his stick.

Since his rookie season in 2017-18, McAvoy has become a familiar face on the stat sheet. Hovering around 30 points a season in his first four years in the NHL, McAvoy took an offensive leap in the 2021-22 campaign, where he eclipsed the 50-point mark before his 52-point season last winter. While he’s only reached double-digits in goals once in his career, he has a knack for setting his teammates up with goals that separate him from the rest of the league.

Last season, McAvoy racked up 45 helpers en route to the organization’s best finish in league history. Through nine games this season, McAvoy has already assisted on six scores before finding the back of the net for the first time on Saturday. He’s dominating up and down the ice, and Boston requires his offensive contributions throughout the season.

The entirety of the Bruins lineup has totaled 72 points through their 8-0-1 start. McAvoy’s eight points are in sole possession for third most on the team while being the only defenseman in the top ten. And as the team’s top six producers have accounted for roughly 60% of the total scoring, Boston’s depth hasn’t been ignited yet. With the potential of breakout years from players such as Jake Debrusk, Pavel Zacha, and Hampus Lindholm, McAvoy will hope to continue his offensive contribution in the interim.

However, it doesn’t appear his performance so far this season will be short-lived. McAvoy is primed for a standout year of his own. He’s assumed a quarterback role on the power play, showcasing his quick decisions with the puck in the team’s recent matchup with the Anaheim Ducks. McAvoy collected a pass at the blue line before faking a shot on goal and dishing a perfect feed to Pastrnak. In the same game, he found Pastrnak again. This time, McAvoy used his speed to gain ice before feathering a pass to the talented winger, resulting in another score.

It’s plays like these that the Bruins will rely on all season long. Boston doesn’t need McAvoy to be a 100-point scorer, but they’ll reap immersive benefits throughout their 82-game slate if their star defenseman keeps involving himself in the offense.