The Boston Bruins continue to lay out the breadcrumbs that defenseman Charlie McAvoy is going to return on Thursday night against the Calgary Flames at TD Garden. The latest development is placing D-man Mike Reilly on waivers for the purposes of an assignment to the Providence Bruins to clear a spot for the healthy McAvoy as he returns from shoulder surgery.
McAvoy skated on a top pairing with Hampus Lindholm at Boston Bruins practice on Wednesday at Warrior Ice Arena and led the team stretching circle after the session was over just as Brad Marchand had done last month prior to his surprise return to action.
This time it’s a little less surprising even though both McAvoy and Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery were vague about confirming whether or not he would play against Calgary.
“McAvoy is checking a lot of boxes. He’s getting close. He’ll be playing within a week, I think. I’m not going to confirm or deny [if he’s playing Thursday] because there are still boxes that need to be checked,” said Montgomery. “So many players ahead of schedule [coming back from injury] so that’s a credit to [the training staff] and the great work they do to get our players back on the ice ready to play, and play well.”
“McAvoy is checking a lot of boxes. He’s getting close.” — Coach Montgomery pic.twitter.com/ezjkdhjRBr
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 9, 2022
What could happen is a similar pathway to Marchand where McAvoy plays on Thursday night at home against the Flames, and then skips this weekend’s back-to-back games with travel prior to returning to full duty next week for the Black and Gold. Or perhaps he’ll simply play on Sunday at home against the Vancouver Canucks while skipping the quick trip to Buffalo and the unnecessary strain of playing three games in four days right out of the cute coming back from injury.
Either way it’s clear that McAvoy’s return is imminent while the Boston Bruins look for a way to cup salary cap space whether it’s moving Reilly or winger Craig Smith. Reilly has one assist in 10 games along with an even plus/minus rating in 16:44 of ice time along with 12 shots on net while jumping in and out of the lineup during the early going.
Reilly was similarly placed on waivers by the Boston Bruins along with Nick Foligno at the end of NHL training camp but had remained with the club for the first month of the season prior to being demoted to the AHL club this week.