Imagine if the Boston Bruins had traded down in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and didn’t take rising star defenseman Charlie McAvoy with the 14th overall pick?
According to a report in The Athletic on Monday, new Montreal Canadiens director of amateur scouting in the United States and former Florida Panthers amateur scout Billy Ryan did everything he could to get then-Panthers general manager Tom Rowe to trade up and take McAvoy. The report did not indicate if the Boston Bruins and the Panthers had any trade talks regarding the 14th overall pick before the Bruins selected the former Boston University star rearguard. It did however show that Ryan, a Milton, MA native and former Cushing Academy and UMaine player, did everything he could to pursuade Rowe:
‘The Florida Panthers owned the 23rd overall pick at the 2016 draft, but they had a scout who wanted his team to do everything possible to get the 14th overall pick. There was a player who was still available and was expected to go around that range. According to a league source, the scout felt it was worth “trading the house” to go get.
That player was Charlie McAvoy. That scout was Billy Ryan.’
Thankfully, Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and his amateur scouting staff didn’t make any monumental stumbles as they did the previous draft they had three consecutive first round picks (13,14,15) and didn’t select the likes of Mathew Barzal or Kyle Connor or Thomas Chabot to name a few.
Charlie McAvoy has now become the cornerstone of the blue line – some would argue the team – for the Boston Bruins and is expected to challenge for the 2023 Norris Trophy and likely many beyond then. The 24-year-old, 6-foot-1, 211-pound defenseman is coming off a career high in goals (10), assists (46) and points with 56. McAvoy finished fourth in voting for the 2022 Norris Trophy that was awarded to Colorado Avalanche and former UMass-Amherst defenseman Cale Makar.