BRIGHTON, Mass – The pieces are starting to come into place for the Bruins with the Sunday morning news that B's defenseman Charlie McAvoy has signed a contract for three years with an AAV of $4.9 million per season. This puts the 21-year-old defenseman in the exact same neighborhood as fellow RFA defenseman and future No. 1 guy Zach Werenski, who last week signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Some may think it's an amazing steal for the Bruins because they bought into the hype that McAvoy was going to get a 6-8 year deal paying him upwards of $7 million per season, but that was never realistic with the talented young blueliner. McAvoy has missed almost 50 games in his first two NHL seasons due to injury and illness, and as a less than full-fledged restricted free agent he wasn't able to receive offer sheets due to his service time at the NHL.
McAvoy had very little leverage headed into the negotiations, and truth be told he's fortunate to be getting a comparable contract to the more accomplished Werenski all things considered.
From the Bruins perspective, they've locked up their future franchise defenseman for the next three seasons on a bridge deal that will still leave him a couple of seasons shy of unrestricted free agency. For now it leaves the Bruins with enough cap space (roughly $3.2 million according to capfriendly.com) to sign fellow RFA defenseman Brandon Carlo with very little need to cut cap costs on the NHL roster.
The contract gives McAvoy a pretty healthy payday, of course, but it also leaves him with the chance to stay healthy and fully realize his potential over the next three seasons. McAvoy was excellent in the postseason for the Bruins while averaging 24:30 of ice time during the 24-game run and simply needs to stay healthy to develop into the future No. 1 D-man and heir apparent in Boston to Zdeno Chara.
He's averaged just seven goals and 30 points over his first two NHL seasons and has battled some fairly uncommon health issues along the way, so the production on the ice just wasn't there for a bigger deal either.
The Bruins will now have three years to make certain the 6-foot, 208-pound D-man just ran into a little bit of bad luck with the health stuff over his first two years.
If all goes according to plan, the Bruins are going to be paying McAvoy a much bigger deal three years down the line. But at that point they'll have moved on from some of their current contracts, will have more cap space to negotiation and will happily pay their young D-man if he turns into the perennial Norris Trophy candidate he should become if can stay on the ice.