It took longer than many would have hoped for, but the Boston Bruins and Charlie McAvoy have agreed to terms on a three-year contract worth $14.7 million, according to Bob McKenzie. This deal carries an annual cap hit of $4.9 million with a year-three salary of $7.3 million.
This is great news for the Bruins who are coming off of a disappointing end to an otherwise impressive season. Losing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final stings, but the Bruins seem likely to keep a similar team together heading into the 2019-20 season with McAvoy at the forefront of their defensive attack.
Averaging just over 22 minutes per game in each of his first two seasons and logging significantly more in postseason play, McAvoy’s importance to the Bruins is unquestioned. Getting their No. 1 defender locked up for the immediate future is important given their current window, especially considering their core consists of multiple players of 30 years old.
Included in that list are Zdeno Chara (41), Patrice Bergeron (34), David Krejci (32), Tuukka Rask (31) and Brad Marchand (30).
Ideally, the Bruins would have liked to have locked up McAvoy to a long-term contract on a reasonable cap hit that would seem like a steal down the line.
Bruins and McAvoy Agree on Bridge Deal
The most obvious example here is Josh Morrissey’s deal with the Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets and Morrissey agreed to an eight-year deal worth $50 million, coming at $6.25 million per season. This sort of deal would have been the best-case scenario for the Bruins as the cap hit would have been more than palatable and the extra two-years would have been a steal.
The next option that the Bruins would have liked to have figured out with McAvoy was a six-year deal at a similar cap hit.
Ivan Provorov and the Philadelphia Flyers agreed to such a deal this past week when they came to terms on a six-year deal worth $40.5 million, carrying a $6.75 million cap hit.
Instead of following these model, the Bruins and McAvoy would instead follow the trend of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Zach Werenski who came together on a three-year deal worth $15 million.
The important distinction in the Werenski deal, though, is that his base salary in the first two years of the deal is $4 million while the base salary in the third year is $7 million. This helps as it ensures that his qualifying offer would be one-year at $7 million at the end of the deal, setting him up for a bigger payday one way or another. This is true of McAvoy’s deal as well.
McAvoy and the Bruins were always going to come together on a deal, it was just a matter of when and not if. For a player as talented as McAvoy who has been so important to the Bruins in all situations, scoring 60 points in his first 117 games, a bridge deal makes sense as he can re-gauge his value at 24 years old, presumably in the middle of his prime.
It should be noted that McAvoy has also missed substantial time due to injury already in his young career, though, which makes the gamble on himself something worth watching.
Lengthy Restricted Free Agent Discussions Around NHL
Still, it isn’t surprising to see that this deal took so long to come together, though, as the entire NHL has seen lengthy contract discussion between teams and restricted free agents this offseason.
As mentioned, Provorov, Werenski, Morrissey and McAvoy just signed in addition to Mitch Marner who finally worked out a mega-deal in Toronto.
These deals only just came together ahead of training camps starting, though, and there are still a plethora of restricted free agents still in search of new deals. That list includes Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor in Winnipeg, Brayden Point in Tampa Bay, Mikko Rantanen in Colorado and Travis Konecny in Philadelphia.
Next up for the Bruins will be coming to terms on a deal with Brandon Carlo, the Bruins’ other restricted free agent right-shot defender who had a major coming-out party in the 2019 postseason.
One way or another, though, the Bruins are probably going to have to figure out their cap situation before the season begins. The Bruins offseason is far from finished.