NHL prospects usually take quite awhile to develop. Rookies rarely make an immediate significant impact, rookie seasons such as such as Auston Mathew’s 2016-2017 campaign almost never happen. Boston Bruins prospect Charlie McAvoy doesn’t look like he is going to be one of those exceptions, but he may be able to significantly contribute to the Bruins far sooner than you may think.
Charlie McAvoy was drafted by the Bruins with the fourteenth overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft. The young defenseman was a star at Boston University and the Bruins faithful had very similar expectations for him at the NHL level.
McAvoy didn’t play at all during the 2016-2017 regular season, but he finally got a chance to make his debut in the playoffs after several injuries crippled the Bruins’ blue line. While he wasn’t enough to keep the Bruins playoff lives afloat, his play should give the Bruins optimism for their blue line going into the 2017-2018 season.
In the playoffs McAvoy didn’t score, but he had three assists and was -2 on the ice. On paper these stats don’t look very promising, but given the circumstances, Bruins fans should be very happy with these numbers. The Ottawa Senators played a stingy defensive trap with their 1-3-1 formation and as a result the Bruins found themselves defending more often than not. The 1-3-1 trap made it near impossible for the Bruins to create entires in the offensive zone.
Additionally, McAvoy was playing alongside very little talent. The Bruins were missing three of their six starting defenseman and as a result McAvoy was forced to step in and immediately take a heavy amount of the work load. McAvoy deserves more credit for his contributions against the eventual Eastern Conference runner ups.
McAvoy’s talent and ability to compete with NHL calibre players is evident, now it’s time to see if he can do it consistently. He was able to play well for six games, but the NHL regular season is a long 82 game stretch.
While there is no way to predict how he will respond to a full regular season of work, his workload in the post season suggests he’s ready for more than six games. McAvoy logged over 24 minutes of ice time in all six of the Bruins playoff games.
It’s impossible to tell how his body will respond to more games against NHL level talent, but his playoff performance suggests McAvoy is ready for more time with the Bruins defense.