Over the last week, there have been rumors on the possibility of the Boston Bruins making defenseman Charlie McAvoy available for a trade. While the Bruins are looking to upgrade their top-six forwards with a second line right wing, doing it and giving up McAvoy is not something they should consider doing.
The Bruins have a history of giving up on young, home-grown talent quickly. One example is trading Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars. Winning a Stanley Cup in his rookie year, the Bruins moved on from him two years later.
Bruins Lost Seguin Trade
In the first round of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the Bruins selected Seguin with the second-overall pick. During his three years in Boston, he had 56 goals and 65 assists in 203 games. In 42 playoff games, he scored just 6 goals and 12 assists.
On July 4, 2013, then-Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli decided to part ways with Seguin and traded him to the Dallas Stars with Rich Peverley and Ryan Button. In return, Boston got back Loui Eriksson and three Dallas prospects in Joseph Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser.
Seguin has taken off with the Stars and is a four-time all-star for Dallas. He is averaging just under a point-per-game pace in a Stars uniform in 519 career games. He has 217 goals and 284 assists for 501 regular-season points. Dallas has made the playoffs only three times since his arrival, with Seguin scoring just five goals and dishing out nine assists in 20 playoffs games.
As for Eriksson, he spent three years in Boston with 62 goals and 85 assists. In July 2016, he left Boston to sign a six-year, $36-million contract with the Vancouver Canucks. With the recent success of David Pastrnak, it can be easy to forget that Seguin was once a Bruin and ease the pain of the trade, but in the big picture, you have to wonder what might have been if the Bruins had more patience with Seguin.
Don’t Make the Same Mistake with McAvoy
It has not been the 2019-20 season that McAvoy and the Bruins have hoped for. He has struggled in the defensive zone and just has not been able to put together too much consistency. His most recent and biggest mistake in the defensive zone happened in a Jan. 19 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tied 3-3 in the third period, McAvoy turned the puck over to Evgeni Malkin behind the Bruins net before Bryan Rust scored the game-winning goal in a 4-3 loss.
Scoring seven goals over the last two years, McAvoy has yet to light the lamp in 50 games this season. Drafted 14th overall in the first round of the 2016 Entry Draft, he signed in late March after his sophomore year at Boston University. He found himself on the Bruins’ playoff roster against the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal that year after injuries piled up. McAvoy held his own that series and has been with the Bruins since. Last year in 23 playoff games, he scored two goals and had six assists and averaged just over 24 minutes a night on the ice as the Bruins made it to the Stanley Cup Final.
After the Bruins 10-day All-Star break on Jan. 31, McAvoy showed signs on why he was drafted and worthy of being a first-round pick. Against the Winnipeg Jets, he jump-started the Bruins late in the first period with one of his best hits on the season when he lowered his shoulder into Mark Scheifele with them down 1-0. Winnipeg ended up with a roughing penalty and the Bruins tied the game 1-1 late in the opening period on the power play. He then helped kill six consecutive Jets power plays in a tie game.
Despite his shaky play at times and being inconsistent in the defensive zone with his coverage, he has the talent to be a top-four defenseman in the NHL. Organizations take pride in home-grown talent, but with a talent that has been shown in the past like McAvoy has shown, giving up on the 22-year-old could be costly down the road.
Not Worth Giving up for a Rental
General manager Don Sweeney and coach Bruce Cassidy can’t be happy with the recent play from the defensive unit. Cassidy made it known before the All-Star break and after the loss at Pittsburgh.
There is a lot of uncertainty with the future of the Bruins blue line after this year. Captain Zdeno Chara is 42 years old and looks like he’s taking it year-by-year recently by signing one-year contracts. Torey Krug becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Can the Bruins re-sign him or will they end up losing a big piece of their core? Brandon Carlo has become a big piece on defense and is part of the future. It’s apparent that the Bruins like McAvoy and want him as a part of their future also after they locked him before the beginning of the season with a three-year, $14.7 million contract.
Adding a top-six forward is the goal of the Bruins before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. There are different ways they can go about that. They can use a prospect or two to land a player or they can send back draft picks. They have some young forwards they could part with, but letting go of McAvoy could be a mistake. It’s time for the Bruins to show patience with him because of the uncertainty of the defense after this year.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma, Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.