Defenceman Charlie McAvoy is rapidly becoming a fan favourite in Boston. Sure, he isn’t tearing up the league in points or making miraculous plays every second he touches the ice. But the Boston Bruins rookie is doing what is asked of him, and becoming a reliable top pair defenseman.
Charlie McAvoy Logging Minutes and Recording Points
Although he first made an appearance in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, this is McAvoy’s rookie season. In the Tuesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes, McAvoy was on the ice for 23:06 – just 44 seconds less than captain Zdeno Chara, who is playing in his 20th season. Seeing McAvoy play in more than 20 minutes a game is incredible news for the Bruins both for now and the future.
Alongside being reliable, it is an added bonus that the 20-year-old is an exciting player on the ice. McAvoy provides a talent that few defensemen have in the league, being that he is a goal-scorer at heart. When the 3-on-3 overtime period begins, he wants to be on the ice with the puck on his stick – almost like another Bobby Orr.
In the game against Carolina, we saw it again. As Riley Nash dug the puck away from two Hurricanes, McAvoy read the play and began skating toward the opponent’s net. He caught Nash’s pass and had a 2-on-1 with Brad Marchand, and instead of dishing it over to the Bruins second-leading scorer, he fired a shot past the glove of Scott Darling, sealing the game. With the game-winner, McAvoy had a +/- of 2, meaning he effectively did his job against a team that desperately needed the two points.
— NHL (@NHL) February 28, 2018
McAvoy Showing Toughness
In Boston’s most recent game, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, McAvoy showed another side of his play. He showed the kind of toughness that has gone almost extinct in today’s game. In the first period, Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist came in to lay a hit on the young Boston defender. Unfortunately for McAvoy, he had his head lower than it normally would be. Hornqvist did not slow down at all and knocked him over forcefully, much to the displeasure of the TD Garden crowd.
The Department of Player Safety will likely look at the hit from Thursday’s game, but the way McAvoy reacted to it was as exciting for Bruins fans as the hit itself was for the Penguins. McAvoy stood up, played until the whistle blew, adjusted his helmet, then skated to the bench to wait for his next shift. He did all that without throwing his hands up looking for a call or lay on the ice for even just a few seconds.
McAvoy would also get his revenge on the scoreboard when he assisted the seventh and eighth goal for Boston. Running the score up like that against a team that has sparked a more physical game is a considerably better way to exact revenge.
What’s Next for McAvoy
There isn’t much to critique in McAvoy’s game as of now. He is still learning from one of the best defensemen in the league in Chara and has plenty of young teammates to work with, which is exactly what a player like him needs.
McAvoy stands alone at third in the team’s +/- and is the leading defenseman in that statistic – which should not be overlooked when evaluating him. He provides plenty of promise as a core Bruin and has consistently put up impressive numbers per game.
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