From now until the beginning of training camp, Boston Hockey Now is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2022-23 Boston Bruins. Today’s player: Charlie McAvoy.
What Happened Last Year: McAvoy, 24, has clearly established his Norris Trophy bona fides over the last couple of seasons and finished just outside the voting to become a finalist last season while posting 10 goals and 56 points in 78 games with a plus-31 rating.
He moves the puck up the ice, transitioned into the top Bruins power play unit on most nights and reached double-digit goals as he continues to try shooting the puck more often given his ability to generate offense. He also played the physical game that Boston Bruins fans love on many nights, and perhaps on too many nights he was one of the only guys really laying the lumber with his shoulder pads to get his team emotionally invested in the game.
McAvoy had five assists in six games during the playoffs and was again an impact player on the back end, a feat made more impressive when it was learned that the young D-man was going to need shoulder surgery after the season.
Sure, McAvoy finished fifth in Norris voting last season, but he’s closing in on his first finalist sooner rather than later even if it might not be this coming season while missing time at the beginning of the year following his rehab.
Questions To Be Answered This Season: The one big question with McAvoy is always going to be durability. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder plays a tough, pounding style of game that’s always going to invite some kinds of injuries whether it was concussions he’s experienced in the past or the wear and tear that forced a shoulder surgery for the Boston Bruins defenseman this offseason.
Still, he only missed four regular season games and one playoff game due to COVID last season while playing for nobody knows how long with a bum shoulder that required surgery. McAvoy has become a horse that will play through minor injuries and won’t shy away from even occasionally dropping the gloves if the moment calls for it.
If he can do all of that, continue to absorb punishment from forecheckers trying to wear him down and play with full physicality and do it in mostly good health, then some pretty great things are on the horizon for McAvoy. The only other component that might be there for McAvoy to continue mastering is becoming more of a vocal leader inside a Boston Bruins dressing room that’s always had veteran leadership. But it feels like McAvoy has grown in this area as well while taking control of his defensemen group.
In Their Words: “It’s always optimism for me for how long I’ve been here, what I’ve seen and what the culture is. [Bruins management] will always put us in a position to win and be competitive, and from there it’s on us to come together as a team and how we’re going to find a recipe for a successful season.” –Charlie McAvoy on Boston Bruins breakup day feeling optimistic about this coming season before it was learned he needed shoulder surgery.
Overall Outlook: At a position where the development curve can continue at the NHL level for players into their late 20’s, it’s nothing but onward and upward for McAvoy as he enters his true prime years where peak athletic ability meets a growing experience level.
McAvoy can beat opponents with his skating ability, his puck moving, his offensive instincts and home run passing ability and with his physicality while logging huge minutes and doing it while playing a style that is Boston Bruins fan approved. For him it’s not just about staying healthy and also enjoying perhaps a bit of a lighter load as Hampus Lindholm is coming in to similarly log huge minutes while playing strong two-way hockey.
The sky is the limit for McAvoy locked into a long term, big money deal for the Boston Bruins, so he’ll be looking to reach that once he gets back on the ice for the Black and Gold during November.