Report: Bruins, Charlie McAvoy Contract Talks To “Heat Up” In Coming Days

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PHOTO CREDITS: (JANA CHYTILOVA/GETTY IMAGES AND BOSTON BRUINS)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Earlier today, the Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed restricted free-agent defenceman Zach Werenski to a three-year contract worth $5 million per season.

Werenski was regarded as one of the top defensive RFAs on the available market and now that he has officially agreed to re-up his deal with the Blue Jackets, the other teams across the NHL with young blueliners on expiring contracts will be looking to compare their players to Werenski.

Not long after the news broke, TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted that both the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins will heat up talks with their RFA defenders – Ivan Provorov and Charlie McAvoy, even more so with training camp beginning later this week.

We are all aware of the current situation with Charlie McAvoy and the contract negotiations that have been going down this off-season. The problem is that the two parties have not engaged in as many talks as some wish. It has been made clear in several interviews and press releases that McAvoy loves it in Boston and truly wants it to be his home for the long-term future. Bruins management has made it quite clear that they ultimately share the same feelings and they feel a deal will happen eventually, even if talks are “stalled”.

The 22-year-old Werenski was the eighth-overall draft pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Blue Jackets and has since scored 38-90-128 numbers in 237 career NHL games with Columbus including six points (1 goal, 5 assists), in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 2018-19, the Grosse Pointe, Michigan native scored 11 goals and 33 assists for 44 points in 82 games played, but finished with his career-worst -12 plus/minus rating.

Charlie McAvoy has not played in nearly as many games as Werenski, even though the two players are less than five months apart in age. The reason – injuries has slowed down the production of McAvoy, but even still, has become a top-two defenseman for the Bruins and will likely hold that position for years to come. McAvoy scored 7-21-28 totals in only 54 games in ’18/’19, but averaged 22:10 of time-on-ice and a remarkable 24:30 TOI during the four-round playoff season.

Bob McKenzie also mentioned how the current narrative is a long-term contract is likely for the 21-year-old McAvoy due to his praise for Boston and the Bruins organization – with the trip to the Stanley Cup Finals being a big reason for that. As of this moment, we have no word on annual salary or years, but expect news this week regarding the future franchise defenseman.

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PuckNerd’s Bruins Prospect Pyramid – Part 1

( 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!

Tier 1

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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