Bruins News & Rumors: McAvoy, Reilly, Bergeron & More

In this latest edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, star defenseman Charlie McAvoy is set to make his season debut on Thursday night (Nov. 10) against the Calgary Flames. Meanwhile, due to McAvoy’s availability, fellow defenseman Mike Reilly has been placed on waivers for the second time this season. In other news, Patrice Bergeron was interviewed on Elliotte Friedman’s latest 32 Thoughts podcast, and needless to say, it was full of wonderful moments.

McAvoy Expected to Return Against Flames

The Bruins are getting a huge boost, as McAvoy is expected to return to the lineup for their game against the Flames. Although the Bruins have shockingly managed to put together an 11-2-0 record to start the season, there’s no question that they are significantly better with him in the lineup. After all, he is their top defenseman due to his stellar defensive play and ability to create offense from the point.

Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins
Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Based on the team’s practice lines, McAvoy is expected to be slotted next to Hampus Lindholm on the top pairing, much to the delight of the Bruins faithful. Lindholm picked up the slack beautifully while McAvoy was out, as he has 13 points and a plus-12 rating in 13 games. With McAvoy returning, the Bruins could be sporting the best defensive pairing in all of hockey if Lindholm keeps this spectacular play up.

In 78 games last season, McAvoy set new career highs with 10 goals, 46 assists, 56 points, and a plus-31 rating. Now, his 2022-23 season is set to begin, and it will be fun to see how he performs from here.

Reilly Back on Waivers

With McAvoy returning, the Bruins needed to free up cap space, thus leading to Reilly’s waiver placement. This is the second time this campaign that the 29-year-old defenseman has hit the waiver wire. The first time around, the Chicago native cleared, but that does not mean that he will this time. Now that we are a month into the season, plenty of teams are dealing with injuries on defense and/or looking to make upgrades. Teams like the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators stand out as potential landing spots for him, at least to me.

Related: Bruins Weekly: Front Office Embarrassment, Marchand & More

Yet, the major obstacle in a team claiming Reilly is that he carries a $3 million cap hit until the end of the 2023-24 season. That’s a decent chunk of change for a bottom-pairing defenseman, but his offensive upside could lead to another team claiming him. Keep in mind, he did have 27 assists in 65 games between the Senators and Bruins in 2020-21.

We will have to be on the lookout for a Reilly claim from here. If he does clear, he will be heading to the American Hockey League (AHL) and joining the Providence Bruins. In 10 games this season, he has an assist and an even plus/minus rating.

Bergeron Joins 32 Thoughts Podcast

For any readers looking to listen to an entertaining interview, there’s a great one between Bergeron and Friedman in the NHL insider’s most recent 32 Thoughts podcast episode (Nov. 9). In it, the 37-year-old center discusses an array of interesting topics, such as the Bruins’ team culture, the impact of Jim Montgomery’s arrival, his friendship with Brad Marchand, and playoff memories. All in all, it’s just such a fun interview, so I felt that it was necessary to share it here.

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Bergeron also discussed his playing future. Friedman asked him if he “sees the end” of his career coming, and the captain said, “yeah, the end is closer than it’s been, right?” However, he then immediately noted that he has not thought about retiring, and he will be transparent once he does. This is encouraging news, as it seems that he could have more left in the tank past this season. Either way, fans should embrace every game they have left with the legend.

Former Bruin Peter McNab Passes Away

On Sunday (Nov. 6), former Bruin Peter McNab tragically passed away at the age of 70. The Denver native was diagnosed with cancer in 2021 but was informed by doctors that it was in remission earlier this year.

Although McNab certainly developed a huge name for himself broadcasting for the Colorado Avalanche, he also put together a memorable tenure with the Bruins as a player. In Boston, he blossomed into a star and was at least a point-per-game player in seven out of his eight seasons with the team. In 595 games with the Bruins, he had 263 goals, 324 assists, and 587 points.

McNab was simply fantastic as both a player and commentator. As a result, he’s an inspirational figure who will be deeply missed and never forgotten in the hockey world.

Looking Ahead for the Bruins

With McAvoy returning, the Bruins finally have all of their star players back in the lineup. This couldn’t have come at a better time, as they have a tough stretch of games coming up which include contests against the Flames, Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers. Therefore, getting the heart of their defense back in McAvoy is truly the best news they could have asked for.

However, when it comes to transactions, we will need to see how the Bruins figure out their salary cap issues. If Reilly does not get claimed off waivers, only a fraction of his $3 million cap hit will be off the books, and Boston will need to make another roster move to become cap compliant to activate McAvoy. Derek Forbort, who is out for several weeks, will likely be moved to long-term injured reserve (LTIR) in this scenario. This would be a short-term fix but eventually, the Bruins will need to trade at least one player once they are fully healthy. We will have to keep an eye out for that from here.

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