There was one question mark that stuck out like a sore thumb coming into this season: who was going to step into the oh-so-vital role of the departed Zdeno Chara? Seeing Big Z leave for a team like the Washington Capitals was heartbreaking. Every Bruins fan gave Don Sweeney the death glare for letting it happen. Little did we know, there was one kid on the team ready to take on that massive role.
SAY HIS NAME AS AN ELITE DEFENSEMAN: CHARLIE MCAVOY!!
That kid is only 23 years old. He was the 2016 14th overall pick. His name is Charlie McAvoy. He sat behind Chara and carefully learned the ways of the game from one of the best. Fast forward to the playoffs and Bruins fans can now see the major impact he has on the team’s defense. The game that made my eyes widen the most was Game 3 against the Islanders–he played a whopping 29 minutes in that game. This is a Bruins team who is struggling at depth at the defense position. Between current injuries and season-ending surgeries, Bruins are only dressing five d-men. So it is understandable that McAvoy had to pick up his game and take it up a notch in Game 3.
WHY CHARLIE MCAVOY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AN ELITE DEFENSEMAN?
Head Coach Bruce Cassidy stated this about McAvoy after that pivotal Game 3 Overtime win. “He’s becoming an elite player in this league. The playoffs don’t bother him.” and he is absolutely right. The poise and attitude that Charlie McAvoy has shown in this playoff season are that of a veteran well beyond his years. Hell, you can date this back to their 2019 season when they were in finals. McAvoy has stepped up in more ways than one.
The main reason why no one is truly praising him the way he deserves to be is because of the fact he doesn’t exactly stuff the score sheet. He isn’t scoring a lot of goals, and his assists are low, but honestly, that shouldn’t determine if you are elite or not in this case.
McAvoy is making it happen in so many other categories on the ice. Just because he is not dominating at the top of the stat sheet like some of the other top young defensemen doesn’t mean he isn’t elite. He is exactly like his mentor, Zdeno Chara, making things happen when they need to. McAvoy has a bright future ahead, and if he isn’t elite now, just wait. He will be bursting onto the elite here very very soon.
-Jeff Hoak (@JeffHoak1)
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