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Was Ferguson Jr Responsible For The Bruins Drafting McAvoy?

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Imagine if the Boston Bruins selected Dante Fabbro instead of Charlie McAvoy with the 14th pick overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft?

According to Sportsnet NHL analyst, radio, and podcast host Jeff Marek, that’s exactly what would’ve happened if not for now-former Boston Bruins Assistant General Manager John Ferguson Jr. Towards the end of the 32 Thoughts Podcast on Sportsnet, Marek told co-host Elliotte Friedman an interesting tidbit about how McAvoy ended up being selected by the Bruins.

Just two weeks ago, Ferguson Jr, who started his tenure with the B’s in 2014 as Executive Director of Player Personnel, was hired away by the Arizona Coyotes to become their new Assistant GM. According to Marek, just three months before he was promoted to Bruins Assistant GM in September 2016, Ferguson convinced the Bruins to change course and select McAvoy over his future Boston University teammate, and British Columbia native, Fabbro, who wound up getting selected 17th overall by the Nashville Predators.

“Whenever I see this player on the ice, I’ll think to myself – that was a John Ferguson deal – is Charlie McAvoy,” Marek told Friedman. “And I remember that draft specifically, and on the Thursday night, the Boston Bruins, before they all went to bed before the first round and the draft on Friday, they all went to bed agreeing that Dante Fabbro was going to be their pick. The western scouts really liked Dante Fabbro and it was Ferguson, and a group that he had within the organization, that got it changed the next day. Otherwise, the Boston Bruins were going to take Dante Fabbro over Charlie McAvoy.”

McAvoy grew up in Long Beach, New York, and actually had a personal connection to Ferguson Jr in his father Bob.

“The interesting story there is, the McAvoys and the Fergusons have a relationship going back to when John Sr. ran the New York Rangers and they lived in Long Island,” Marek pointed out. “The Fergusons bought Jean Ratelle’s house and lived there. John Jr rode the school bus with Charlie McAvoy’s Dad Bob, and the family’s plumbing company, McAvoy Plumbing, did work on Jean Ratelle/John Ferguson’s house.”

“How about that for the most arcane bit of information you’ve heard on a podcast?” Marek cracked at the end.

How about that is right if you’re the Bruins and their fans!

Since being drafted by the Boston Bruins, McAvoy, 23, has 24 goals and 98 assists in 235 games played. He is coming off a brilliant 2021 season in which he had five goals and 25 assists in 51 games and finished fifth in Norris Trophy voting. He has emerged as the team’s No. 1 defenseman and if all goes well in contract negotiations between now and next July, he will be the backbone of the Bruins’ blue line for years to come. Not to mention a likely perennial Norris candidate.

Meanwhile, Fabbro has just eight goals and 16 assists in 108 games with the Predators.

Say what you want about Ferguson’s track record as a GM but he is now responsible for the Boston Bruins acquiring the winningest goalie in team history in Tuukka Rask, and likely one of the best defensemen in franchise history in McAvoy. If Bruins fans ever cross paths with Ferguson at a Boston pub when he’s in town scouting, the first round should be on the fans.

Click here and scroll to the 47:55 mark for the McAvoy-Ferguson story and connection.

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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