The Boston Bruins threw 19-year-old defenseman Charlie McAvoy right into the deep end … and that unusual debut went swimmingly.
His first NHL appearance was Game 1 of the Bruins’ first-round series against the Ottawa Senators, and it’s not as though McAvoy was eased into the mix. Only Zdeno Chara logged more ice time (25:32 to McAvoy’s 24:11) for Boston. He actually led all skaters in ice time through the first two periods.
That’s what you call a trial by fire for the 14th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft.
And, again, he fit in remarkably well. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy put it simply when he said that McAvoy was “terrific.”
Now, it’s one thing for your own coach to provide praise, even if some bench bosses sometimes want to keep a player’s head out of clouds. It’s another when P.K. Subban comparisons come about, and they’re not unreasonable:
As a reminder, Subban made an immediate impact for Montreal in 2009-10, playing a significant role in that run after appearing in only two games during the regular season.
The rave reviews are quite abundant.
With Colin Miller possibly added to an extensive injured list, the Bruins need all the help they can get. For all we know, these tough breaks might allow McAvoy to emerge as an immediate difference-maker.