Over and over again, the Boston Bruins find ways to sign core players at stunning discounts. They pulled off another steal with budding star defenseman Charlie McAvoy on Sunday.
Remarkably, they signed McAvoy for slightly less than what the Blue Jackets gave Zach Werenski. McAvoy’s contract is for three years, with just a $4.9 million AAV. That’s … incredible value.
Like with Werenski, it’s structured in a way that can make a future contract hefty, and open the door for eventual UFA status. But for a team that’s focused on now as much as the Bruins happen to be, this is even better. It also makes affording Torey Krug‘s next contract feel a lot more feasible. Also, Cap Friendly points out that McAvoy needs more time to reach UFA status than Werenski and Timo Meier, two players who’ve set a standard for how many RFAs approached negotiations this offseason.
When people try to beat up on the Maple Leafs for their expensive top guys, they often (almost unfairly) bring up Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak only costing about $20 million combined – less than John Tavares and Auston Matthews put together. This could be another contract people cite when they shake their head in awe at what the Bruins have done.
(Now, they just need to make sure not to give away any contracts to the likes of David Backes.)
About the only knock on McAvoy, 21, is that he’s dealt with some injury issues. Beyond that, he’s a really well-rounded defenseman, one who’s been instrumental in extending Zdeno Chara‘s career.
Check out how his RAPM charts at even-strength stack up against Werenski, via Evolving Hockey:
McAvoy made a resounding first impression during the 2016-17 postseason, making his NHL debut at that stage, and impressively logging 26:12 per playoff game. He then started strong in 2017-18, generating seven goals and 32 points in 63 games. This past season provided much of the same, as McAvoy scored seven goals and 28 points in 54 regular-season contests and delivering strong work in postseason appearances.
Again, the main concern is staying on the ice, as otherwise McAvoy’s passed his early tests with flying colors.
Cap Friendly estimates the Bruins’ remaining cap space at about $3.2M, and it’s possible that RFA defenseman Brandon Carlo might eat up all of that, or almost all of that breathing room.
This is fantastic stuff by the Bruins. Again.
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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.