So far this offseason the Bruins have been one of the quietest teams in the NHL.
Their only additions have depth moves in the signings off Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm. Although many fans were hoping for more, the Bruins successful offseason will lie in the futures of Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.
Both are key pieces to the Bruins are experiencing their first go in restricted free agency. Their future is not only in the air but could send ripple effects throughout the entire Bruins roster.
That effect was already seen earlier this offseason when the Bruins gave Danton Heinen a two-year extension. The deal with pay Heinen $2.8 million annually leaving the Bruins with only $7 million in cap space. Unfortunately, that will not be enough to keep Carlo and McAvoy without additional moves.
After perhaps his best season in the NHL, Carlo’s new deal is expected to be between $3 and $4 million annually.
The Colorado native is certainly deserving as he established himself as a key part of the Bruins core last season. As injuries piled up, Carlo proved that he could handle top defenseman minutes. In the playoffs, he averaged over 20 minutes of ice time and had one game-winning goal.
Unlike Carlo, however, McAvoy’s deal will be more complicated. The Boston University product has only spent two years in the NHL but is already a franchise cornerstone. Even with a big long injury history, he has 60 points in 117 career games. His impact was on full display during the Bruins playoff run.
In 23 games the former first-round pick had two goals and six assists. After struggling to stay healthy during the regular season, he averaged 24 minutes of ice time.
McAvoy showed that he was willing to sacrifice his body for the team as he had 43 blocked shots. With Chara’s career winding down, McAvoy is seen as his replacement and leader of the Bruins blueline.
Fortunately for the Bruins, they can match any offer made to Carlo and McAvoy. Their importance, however, may force the Bruins to be creative about how they create cap space.
One possible solution is trading David Backes, who is under contract for the next two years at $5 million. Regardless of what the Bruins due the future of these two is will impact the success of this franchise.
In McAvoy’s case he is a player that he is not easy to replace. The third year defenseman is a force offensively and is not afraid to be physical. He is excellent at moving the puck and is a rare talent.
Additionally, Carlo does not have the same ceiling but has steadily improved over the years. Offense is not his strength as Carlo only has eight career goals. He has however proven that he can be a shutdown defenseman.
With the regular season quickly approaching, the Bruins will need to resolve their contracts quickly. Although a bridge deal is one solution, it is also risky. Time is running out in an offseason that will be judged by what happens with these rising stars.