How Could A Potential Trade Of Bruins Charlie McAvoy Work?

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(Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

I want to preface this article by saying this is INCREDIBLY unlikely and that I do not want the Bruins to trade Charlie Mcavoy. There’s probably a better chance of Bobby Orr lacing them up again than the Bruins trading Mcavoy at the moment but regardless, I thought it would be a fun idea to dive into and see some hypothetical trades and how it may affect the Bruins lineup.

Number one right defensemen don’t grow on trees, so if the Bs were to trade Mcavoy, it would have to be a massive haul. While trading Mcavoy would obviously create a hole on defense, the Bruins’ biggest hole at the moment is a top-six winger. A young, highly skilled forward should be the target for Boston.

Rationally thinking, the Bruins would never trade Mcavoy to an Eastern Conference team. With that being said, I have created a couple mock trades with teams that could be a realistic trade partner for Boston.

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 2: Brock Boeser #6 of the Vancouver Canucks skates with the puck during their NHL game against the Nashville Predators at Rogers Arena on March 2, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Nashville won 4-3. (Photo by Derek Cain/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Derek Cain/NHLI via Getty Images)

Vancouver

To Vancouver: Charlie Mcavoy, Peter Cehlarik

To Boston: Brock Boeser, Troy Stecher

Why it works?

With phenom Elias Petterson, likely future captain Bo Horvat, recently acquired JT Miller and newly drafted Vasili Podkolzin, Vancouver has a plethora of young talent at forward. Obviously losing a potential 40 goal scorer is never going to feel good, but with their organizational depth, it’s something they could certainly give up for a stud like Mcavoy.

The addition of Mcavoy would drastically improve Vancouver’s defense. A pairing of Quinn Hughes and Charlie Mcavoy could very well be the best pair in the NHL for years and years. This offseason, the Canucks went out and signed Tyler Myers to play the next six years for them at right defense, and with veteran Alex Edler, that would give the Canucks a very formidable top four. Cehlarik has minimal value, but he would be a cheap bottom-six forward for the Canucks.

On defense, Troy Stecher is a very underrated top-four guy. He can play powerplay and penalty kill minutes and was a +9 on a poor Canucks team last season. With Mcavoy’s departure, Brandon Carlo would slide into his top pairing spot with Stecher filling in on the second pairing.

The Bruins with Brock Boeser may tout the best forward core in the entire NHL. Boeser would likely slot into David Krejci’s right, allowing the perfection line to stay together and keep a great 1-2-3 core of Patrice Bergeron, Krejci, and Charlie Coyle.

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Debrusk – Krejci – Boeser

Heinen – Coyle – Studnicka/Kuhlman/Bjork

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner

Chara – Carlo

Krug – Stecher

Grzelyck – Clifton

That’s a formidable lineup.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Dallas Stars

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Winnipeg

To Winnipeg: Charlie Mcavoy

To Boston: Kyle Connor, Sami Niku, 2020 3rd round pick

With the departure of Jacob Trouba (NYR) and Tyler Myers (VAN), the Jets have a big hole to fill on their right side. Just like Vancouver, the Jets have a ton depth at forward. Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, Blake Wheeler, Patrick Laine, and Kyle Connor are all 60 point players, and with 4/5 of those players being 26 or younger (and guys like Jack Roslovic, Kristian Vesalainen and Mason Appleton nearing their breakout years) they will have a formidable core for years to come.

The Bruins would certainly look to acquire one of the younger top six guys have, a guy like Patrick Laine could look really good in the black and gold, but his upcoming contract would likely prove too big for the Bruins and their already tough cap situation. Scheifele seems to be the guy that will take the “C” once Wheeler calls it quits and is as untouchable as any other guy in the league. That leaves Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers. Connor is a slightly better player, but Ehlers brings the ability to play right wing. It’s a bit of a toss-up, but I’d like Connor simply because he’s the better player and I can see his skill set being able to transition to the right side.

Along with Connor, the Bruins would get Sami Niku who is a very solid prospect on the verge of eating some big minutes in the NHL. He had a great year in the AHL two seasons ago and bounced between the NHL and AHL last season, playing well in each league. He’s not ready for a top-four role quite yet, but he’s another guy like Urho Vaakanainen and Jeremy Lauzon that could be a big piece of the defense of the future. The 3rd rounder is added for some decent value in a deep draft.

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Debrusk – Krejci – Connor

Heinen – Coyle – Studnicka/Kuhlman/Bjork

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner

Krug – Carlo

Chara – Grzelyck

Niku – Clifton

The defense for this lineup is definitely not as good as the hypothetical Vancouver trade lineup as it’s a bit of a question mark on how good Gryz can be on his off-side (although I don’t see him having a major issue with it) and the decrease of flexibility it gives for coach Bruce Cassidy.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Other Potential Suitors

Anaheim

Rikard Rakell would definitely be a good fit in Boston, if the Bs were able to pry away a guy like Josh Manson to go along with Rakell, it would be a very interesting trade, but I couldn’t see Anaheim moving two key pieces away for just one coming back.

Chicago

I was close to putting some sort of swap of Alex Debrincat and Mcavoy but decided against it as the Blackhawks have far too much money already locked up on defense.

Arizona

Clayton Keller? A swap of two former teammates at Boston University could’ve been very enticing for both sides.

I’d say Vancouver is the best fit out of all the teams I listed but again, there’s next to no chance anything like this would happen and quite frankly, I don’t even want to see Mcavoy wear another jersey for the rest of his career. Still an enjoyable article to write.

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Bruins Fans, Don’t Forget About Anders Bjork

Bjork_Tom Szczerbowski:USA Today SportsPhoto Credit: Tom Szczerbowski / USA Today Sports

By: Crae Messer   |   Follow Me On Twitter @Crae_Messer

Opening the 2017-2018 season, there was no doubt surrounding the future of the Boston Bruins. The youth movement was officially on, and the B’s faithful fanbase was excited to see what the young guns could do donning the Spoked-B.

The list of newcomers with serious potential seemed to be endless. Most notably there was Charlie McAvoy. Not far behind in terms of hype was Jake DeBrusk. Danton Heinen landed a well-deserved spot in the lineup as well. All of whom delivered in their first full seasons in the big leagues.

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Among the other younger players generating excitement were Sean Kuraly and Matt Grzelcyk. Brandon Carlo was back. David Pastrnak, still young, was ready to establish himself. And while all these players got their chances to shine in the Bruins’ impressive 2017-2018 campaign, one rookie, one with arguably the most potential coming into the season behind Charlie McAvoy, was robbed of his shot.

Anders Bjork

What Happened?

Bjork was injured in just his 30th game of the season, a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks on January 30, after taking a cross check from Francois Beauchemin. It resulted in season-ending shoulder surgery.

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Before the injury, Bjork was off to a good start in his first NHL season, as was expected. Bovada, a sports gambling website, had Bjork listed at 7/1 odds to win the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. He was tied with teammate McAvoy, and Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks for second-best odds. Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes had the best odds at 9/2.

Bjork potted his first career NHL goal in his fourth career game against Keller’s ‘Yotes. Of course, Jake DeBrusk assisted on the goal. Two games later, Bjork scored twice in a 6-3 win over Brock Boeser and the Canucks. After that, Bjork’s production dropped off a bit. He went 13 games without another goal. His next tally, oddly enough, came against the Coyotes on December 7. That was his last goal before his season-ending injury took place. Bjork finished his first NHL season with four goals and eight assists, with a plus/minus rating of plus-2.

Even when Bjork was healthy, his production was less than impressive, and certainly not Calder Trophy-caliber. It undoubtedly takes time to adjust to the NHL when coming from the college ranks. But Bjork was one of the best in college, as is evident by his being named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in his junior season at Notre Dame.

And while all this seems to imply that Bjork is not worth the hype, I’m here to make the exact opposite argument.

Bjork Belongs Here

There has been so much commotion since the Bruins’ season came to an end a few weeks ago, as is always the case with any team. If your team is one of the 30 that were unlucky enough to be eliminated, the first thing that happens upon elimination is that fans and management alike begin looking at how to improve the squad for the next season.

The B’s are no different. There have been plenty of questions and discussions surrounding the black and gold. What happens to Anton Khudobin? Who do they re-sign? Who do they let walk? Should they actually sign Ilya Kovalchuk? And, of course, who could forget the age-old debacle of how to improve the defensive corps?

Lost in all this conversation, specifically in regards to the Bruins’ offense, is Anders Bjork. Upon scrolling through the ever-dependable Twitterverse, I see so many analysts forgetting about Bjork when pitching hypothetical Bruins lines for next season.

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There’s little doubt the Bruins will break up arguably the best line in hockey of Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. On the second line, David Krejci is most certainly the center. It’s fair to think Jake DeBrusk has earned his spot on the wing, and from there, the question marks begin to appear.

A lot of those question marks will move the side once some offseason transactions are completed, and we have a better idea of what the roster will look like next season. But while Bjork’s shortened rookie campaign was a bit disappointing, there’s no reason to disregard the fifth-round draft pick from 2014.

Bjork’s stock has indeed risen since being drafted. He was selected 146th overall, four years ago. Since then, he found a groove at Notre Dame and established himself as a natural goal-scorer. In his junior and final season, Bjork scored 21 goals with 31 assists in 39 games, averaging 1.3 points per game. Had he entered the NHL draft after having his best years at Notre Dame, you can bet he would have been taken a few rounds earlier.

Boston is a demanding sports city, and there’s no doubt about that. They expect winning teams and players that are ready to contribute to said teams. Mix that with a Bruins squad that relied so heavily on young players, and you’ve got some inexperienced hockey players taking a lot of responsibility in their first seasons.

Many of the young Bruins did a fantastic job handling such a tough situation, especially considering how well the team did last year. Charlie McAvoy took on a role as a leader among the younger players. Jake DeBrusk brought emotion, grit, and skill – just what Bruins fans love to see. Meanwhile, Anders Bjork struggled to find his footing in the NHL and fell by the wayside.

That being said, expect something big out of Bjork this year.

The 21-year-old forward is a natural goal-scorer. He combines his lethal shooting ability with outstanding puck-moving skill and vision on the ice. Take a look back at the numbers previously mentioned from his junior season at Notre Dame. He helped the Fighting Irish to an appearance in the National Semifinals, both with his play and his leadership as an assistant captain. When he pulls the Bruins’ sweater over his pads this year, he’ll be much more prepared.

It won’t come easily, however. Considering Bjork is coming back from a serious shoulder injury, he’ll have to bulk up even more than most. It will be so crucial for Bjork to get stronger on his feet and prepare for a more physical game. Otherwise, one strange hit could result in more damage to the already injured shoulder.

Remember David Pastrnak after his rookie year? After a first year where he impressed with his skills, but left fans worried about his ability to handle the physical aspects of the game, he did what he had to – bulked up. His second year, he was noticeably stronger on his feet, and it made a difference in his game. Bjork will need to follow in Pastrnak’s footsteps.

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There’s a reason Bjork entered his rookie campaign with the second-best odds to win the Calder Trophy. His knack for finding the back of the net. His puck-moving abilities. Heck, his leadership. It’s a great combination to see in a player, but one we didn’t see last year.

Next season, I’m confident we’ll see it.