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McAvoy ready to make an impact for Bruins

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Prized Boston Bruins prospect Charlie McAvoy made his NHL debut for the Boston Bruins last postseason out of necessity. The team was dealing with a rash of injuries on the blue line, and McAvoy, the team’s first-round pick in 2016, just happened to be the next man up. At just 19 years of age and with only minimal pro hockey experience on his resume McAvoy found himself playing playing more than 26 minutes per night in the Stanley Cup Playoffs alongside a future Hall of Famer in Zdeno Chara.

Even though the Bruins’ season came to an end in that first-round matchup against the Ottawa Senators, McAvoy showed them a promising glimpse of their future on defense.

Now he is ready for a full-time role with the team this upcoming season.

He spoke to the Bruins’ website this week about that first NHL experience and what he can learn from that when it comes to making the Bruins’ opening night roster this season.

From Eric Russo of the Bruins website.

“I think that the experience I had last year was an unbelievable opportunity,” said McAvoy, who joined 13 of his teammates for a captain’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Friday morning.

“That experience was so valuable for myself to get familiar with the organization and the team itself, and I can use that now heading in for the full year, the rookie camp, opening the season, all of those things.

“I’m excited to have a full year and I can definitely use all of those experiences that I had to make sure I’m ready to go.”

McAvoy’s developmemt has to be exciting for the Bruins because their defense, the team’s greatest strength just a few years ago, has taken some significant steps backwards in recent seasons due to trades (Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton) and age (Chara getting older, Dennis Seidenberg moving on).

But there is hope on the horizon with some of the young talent that has been assembled on the back end.

Torey Krug has developed into one of the most productive offensive defensemen in the league, while Brandon Carlo had a really promising rookie season, appearing in every game and playing at a high level for a 20-year-old.

Now McAvoy is ready to join the picture and give the Bruins another young and potential impact player.

The Bruins have a lot of talent up front with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and David Pastrnak (once they get him signed) leading the way, and now they have a pretty strong group of young, offensive minded defensemen that can get the puck to them and help create chances.

Report: Pastrnak’s agent to ask Bruins about eight-year deal on Friday

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The Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy caught up with Bruins exec Cam Neely and David Pastrnak‘s agent J.P. Barry, and there are some awfully interesting updates regarding the rising forward’s negotiations.

Most pressingly, Barry told Conroy that the two sides are set to speak again on Friday, and there will be an argument made from Pastrnak’s side for an eight-year deal.

Barry backed up reports that a six-year, $36 million contract (which included a $6M cap hit) wouldn’t be enough.

Somewhat refreshingly, Neely addressed one of the burning questions head on: how would Leon Draisaitl‘s eight-year deal with an $8.5M cap hit figure in?

“If it looks like an abundance of players and the market has shifted, then you should look at it, but if it’s one player that you’re hanging your hat on then I don’t know if that’s a market shift,” Neely said. “I don’t know if the market has really shifted as much as people think.”

Interestingly, Neely also noted that while there was some early talk about a shorter “bridge” contract for Pastrnak, there hasn’t been much dialog in that regard recently.

All things considered, it might not be easy to talk Pastrnak’s price down that far from the Draisaitl price point. The two players generated similar numbers in 2016-17, although perhaps there could be some argument that a center might be worth more than a winger.

Neely mentioned that the Bruins’ own spending wouldn’t factor in much, yet that could conceivably be a useful talking point.

After all, Draisaitl could point to Connor McDavid‘s $12.5M and say, “I might not be worth that, but I’m worth about two-thirds, right?”

The Bruins’ highest cap hit is David Krejci at $7.25M, with Tuukka Rask at $7M. Theoretically, Neely and/or GM Don Sweeney could ask Pastrnak how much more he’s really worth than, say, Patrice Bergeron or Brad Marchand.

The fact that Pastrnak is an RFA (with quite a few RFA years to burn) also gives the Bruins leverage, whether the Oilers took advantage of their own leverage with Draisaitl well enough or not.

At least Bergeron provides some optimism, as CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty notes.

It’s all pretty fascinating stuff, although one can understand Bruins fans getting a little uneasy as this all drags out.

Report: Bruins offer Pastrnak long-term deal at $6M per year

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David Pastrnak is still without a contract for the upcoming season, with time ticking before training camps open in a few weeks.

That said, it’s been reported in the Boston Globe that the Bruins have offered Pastrnak a long-term contract that would pay him $6 million annually — which would put him alongside David Backes as the fourth highest paid forward on the club, according to CapFriendly.

According to Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe, the Bruins have left the length of the deal, either six or seven years, up to the 21-year-old Pastrnak, who broke out last season for 34 goals and 70 points in 75 games.

The Bruins currently have about $10.1 million in cap space with only Pastrnak remaining to get under contract.

Trade rumors involving Pastrnak (read about them here) started circulating a couple of weeks ago, as this negotiation process has continued well into the summer. General manager Don Sweeney had a brief response when asked about the rumor: “Not trading Pastrnak.”

Related: Bruins would be wise to go long-term with Pastrnak

H/T to The Score.

Devils grab another ex-Bruins forward in Drew Stafford

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Most NHL teams are in “lounging at a tropical resort” and/or heavy-golfing mode, but at least someone in the New Jersey Devils’ front office has been fairly busy lately.

A couple days after they announced a PTO invite for Jimmy Hayes, the Devils revealed that they signed Drew Stafford to a one-year, $800K contract.

While Hayes fell out of favor with the Boston Bruins, it seems like Stafford’s days with the Bruins ended in part because of uncertainty elsewhere, possibly regarding their negotiations with RFA David Pastrnak.

The Devils, meanwhile, aim to fill out their forward ranks, especially with Travis Zajac expected to miss a considerable chunk of the 2017-18 season.

Stafford, 31, was struggling in his final days with the Winnipeg Jets; he was limited to 13 points in 40 games. Being traded to the Bruins seemed to wake him up, as he generated 8 points in 18 regular-season games while firing 2.28 shots on goal per contest after only averaging a meek 1.7 per night with the Jets.

Perhaps some of that urgency will carry over to New Jersey.

Slow Pastrnak, Bruins contract talks now include trade rumor

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Without the helpful (if intimidating) deadline of a salary arbitration hearing looming, some significant RFA situations remain unsettled around the NHL. It’s likely that people are waiting to see the other shoe drop with Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers, particularly in the case of David Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins.

On Sunday, CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty discussed possible reasons why there might be a hold-up, but also noted that even a $7 million or $7.5M price tag might not be a deal-breaker. Maybe that’s more than some would like to see, but at least Bruins fans didn’t have to panic about losing another highly talented young player.

And then Monday came.

Former NHL GM Brian Lawton quickened some pulses when he tweeted that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the challenging negotiations prompted a trade:

Whoa. That can’t be likely … can it be?

Now, it’s important to state that, even in Lawton’s case, there was no “trade is imminent” phrasing. Lawton merely said “I would not be surprised.” There was even some razzing about the typo:

It’s far easier to imagine the Bruins eventually coming to terms with Pastrnak than seeing GM Don Sweeney flip a splendidly gifted 21-year-old on a roster full of players who otherwise might be entering the latter years of their primes.

Of course, the Bruins have defied conventional logic before when it comes to moving breakthrough young players, including Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton. (After all, there’s some symmetry to former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli still having such influence over the Bruins, as his negotiations with Draisaitl could make a big difference here.)

One wouldn’t bet on Pastrnak actually being traded, but times like these make it tougher to shrug your shoulders as the negotiations drag on.

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Sweeney said there was no timetable for talks earlier this summer.

Bruins would be wise to lock him up long-term.