Entering the NHL season expectations for the 19-year-old defenseman were set pretty high. So high that at one point it started to seem unrealistic. But so far McAvoy has shocked everyone with his skill and makeup. Through 23 games this season, McAvoy has not only been excellent on the offensive end with 3 goals and 10 assists. He’s also been quite stout defensively during a time when Boston needed him most.
The former 1st round pick has always had the skill set to be a productive two-way defenseman. But some scouts were optimistic about it translating to the NHL level. So far McAvoy has shown that his offense is no fluke. Bruins fans have been out of their seats with this kid’s skill set. He has excellent skating ability, great vision through all three zones, and as fabulous hands as Jonathan Quick. Cory Schneider got to witness that first hand.
But what has been most impressive about his offensive game is his intelligence. While McAvoy has the talent that many could only dream about, he has shown an excellent level of discipline for a 19-year-old rookie. He has shown great timing on when to pinch down the boards and make a play. He also has the awareness to give up on the risky play that could hurt them defensively. Something that he was doing earlier on, credit to the coaching staff for developing him thus far. At times its hard to remember McAvoy is a defenseman because of how gifted he is offensively.
With the non-stop ravishing of injuries the Bruins have faced this season, it’s been hard to find a player who has played every night. But McAvoy has and Cassidy has leaned on him as a result. The rookie is currently averaging 23:42 TOI, and played 28:11 against the Lightning in the Bruins’ 3-2 win at the Garden. That ranks 26th in the NHL, at the age of 19 lets not forget. The rookie has made his mistakes, which is expected when your out there in high pressure situations. McAvoy has shown the ability to learn from them and rapidly improve on the defensive end.
Whats been most impressive is his physicality up and down the ice. McAvoy lines up players coming through the neutral zone showing a willingness to defend the blue line. Also his toughness has been eye-opening for spectators. McAvoy has also been on the receiving end of quite a few collisions too. But every time he pops back up and even got into it with Lucic. This kid has the heart and the guts to play a physical game, and the talent to go end to end.
Bruins fans: get ready because this type of player doesn’t come around often. At the young age of 19 its hard not to get excited about the future with Charlie McAvoy leading the way.