Bruins Are Benefitting From McAvoy’s Offensive Production

When the Boston Bruins signed Charlie McAvoy to an eight-year, $76 million contract, they did so knowing that he was already one of the very best defenders in the entire NHL. It was a deal that matched the market value of defenders signing around the league and satisfied both the team and the player in the process.

Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins
Charlie McAvoy has been one of the Boston Bruins’ best players since debuting in the NHL and he’s rounding out his game with more offensive and power-play production this season. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

At just 24 years old, McAvoy has already proven year after year that he can step up to the occasion and be the cornerstone defender the Bruins needed for life after Zdeno Chara. While McAvoy may have been a little underrated by some fans around the league due to the fact that he wasn’t posting lofty point totals or producing much on the power play, his ability as a two-way defender who could shut down the opposition’s top players could not be understated.

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It was also short-sighted to think that he couldn’t produce more offensively as he developed in the league and was given more time on the power play.

McAvoy Has Taken the Next Step in His Career Development

McAvoy’s new contract may only kick in next season, but he’s already playing at the level of a defender making $9.5 million annually this season.

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The following table illustrates McAvoy’s production prorated over an 82-game season

SeasonGoalsPointsPower Play Points

As the table shows, over the course of his career, McAvoy’s point production has been good, though not spectacular. His power-play production, however, had seriously limited him as far as point production was concerned. The numbers did see an up-tick in 2020-21 when he was afforded more time on the power play, but it wasn’t until this season that things appeared to change for McAvoy when playing with the man advantage.

This isn’t entirely the case, though, as McAvoy’s point production really started to pick things up at the tail-end of the 2020-21 season and in the playoffs as he would score 19 points in his last 22 games of the season, including eight power-play points in the final 11 games of the season. He’d follow that up with 11 points in 11 postseason contests last year.

McAvoy’s game has rounded out in a way that has made him impossible to underrate this season. He may not be the favorite to win the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defender, but he’s certainly somewhere in the discussion. Whether he finishes as a finalist on some ballots or just narrowly misses the cut as an honorable mention, the fact that he’s in the discussion means that he’s finally getting the credit he deserves.

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For the Bruins, this is great news as McAvoy is the future of their team. Teams can spend years trying to find the perfect player to build their franchise around, but the Bruins were able to find and draft McAvoy while already competing with an established core of veterans. This allowed McAvoy to play a major role on a good team without being given the pressures of being the best player on the team right out of the gate.

The Bruins have turned their 2021-22 season around and McAvoy’s consistency has been as big a reason for this as any. He has the respect and love of his teammates, coaching staff, fans and the media in Boston and should continue to get better as time goes on. The fact that he’s already playing at a Norris Trophy-caliber level makes this an exciting thought for Bruins fans.

Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins’ defender Charlie McAvoy is in the discussion for the Norris Trophy (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It’s important to remember that McAvoy’s importance to the team isn’t tied directly to his offensive output or power-play production. What he brings to the team as a dominant two-way defender isn’t dependent on points, but it’s certainly amplified now that he has taken that next step and seems to have adequately filled in for the spot that Torey Krug left on the roster.

The Boston Bruins could still make trades at the upcoming NHL Trade Deadline to try and bolster their blue line, but any player brought in would be a complementary piece to McAvoy rather than a player to supplant him as the team’s top defender.

It’ll be an interesting month for the Bruins as they try to keep the ball rolling and play as well as they have since the calendar flipped to 2022. The way they play will also help general manager Don Sweeney know what moves he needs to make heading into the playoffs.