It’s official: Charlie McAvoy is going to be a Bruin for a long, long time. President Cam Neely spilled the beans yesterday that they were closing in on an extension, which general manager Don Sweeney later downplayed. But then, this morning, TSN’s Bob McKenzie broke the news. The deal is for eight years and $76 million ($9.5 million AAV). The deal will kick in next season (2022-23).
There is a lot more to the structure of this contract than just the term and money. For instance, according to CapFriendly, $26.5 million is in signing bonuses, while the other $49.5 million is in base salary. According to top insider Frank Seravalli, there is also trade protection starting in the fourth year of the deal (2025-26). Here’s a full breakdown of the deal, according to CapFriendly and Seravalli:
- 2022-23: $6 million salary, $3.25 million signing bonus (SB) (9.25 million total).
- 2023-24: $7.75 million salary, $3.25 million SB ($11 million total).
- 2024-25: $8 million salary, $3 million SB ($11 million total).
- 2025-26: $8.5 million salary, $3 million SB ($11.5 million total). Full no-move clause (NMC) (begins 7/1/25).
- 2026-27: $6 million salary, $4 million SB ($10 million total). Full NMC.
- 2027-28: $3.75 million salary, $4 million SB ($7.75 million total). Full NMC (expires 5/31/28).
- 2028-29: $4.5 million salary, $3 million SB ($7.5 million total). 10 team “yes” trade list.
- 2029-30: $4.5 million salary, $3 million SB ($7.5 million total). 10 team “no” trade list.
Charlie McAvoy made his Bruins debut in the 2017 playoffs. Since then, he has played in 235 regular-season games, racking up 24 points and 98 assists for a total of 122 points. He has also appeared in 65 career playoff games, where he has added another five goals and 27 assists for a total of 32 points. But, points do not tell even close to the full story when it comes to how good McAvoy is (nor should they be the top tool used to measure any defenseman).
If you’ve been paying much attention the last year or two, you know that McAvoy is quickly becoming one of the league’s best top 5v5 defensemen. There’s a strong argument for him even being the best. Take a look at this analytics shart by JFresh:
Charlie McAvoy, signed to an 8x$9.5M extension, is an elite two-way defenceman, arguably the best in the league at 5v5. A lack of PP production makes him underrated by many, but there's just no one who drives play at both ends the way he does. #NHLBruins pic.twitter.com/Dzl1QuKFAY
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) October 15, 2021
As JFresh says, there is simply no one else who drives play at both ends of the ice like McAvoy does. He may show up on the scoresheet like Cale Makar or Victor Hedman do, but he is a better overall defenseman than both of them. The points will come soon enough. But, even if they don’t, it isn’t necessary for him to be an elite defenseman worthy of this big of a contract.
Due to his lack of production, countless people continue to underrate Charlie McAvoy. But, I am extremely excited about this deal. At first glance, it is extremely weird to see the Bruins hand out such a large contract. It is the biggest in franchise history in terms of total money and AAV by a long shot. But, McAvoy is worth every penny of it.
It may not seem like this is as much of a hometown discount as others such as David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand have taken. However, it shouldn’t be long before it does. The league has changed and the salary cap has risen since those two signed. So, this was always going to be a more expensive contract. Then, once you consider the current market (Seth Jones, who is older and whose best season, as Logan Mullen of NESN pointed out, is still worse than McAvoy’s worst season, got the same contract as McAvoy), the deal looks even better. Finally, add on the fact that now that he’s on the first power-play unit, his point totals are likely to explode, and you have a very, very team and player-friendly deal.
Regardless of whether or not I agree with it, more points always equal more money for defensemen. McAvoy easily could’ve held out until the offseason and demanded double digits (he even reasonably could have now), but he didn’t. He clearly wanted to remain a Bruin and didn’t care if it meant losing millions in the long run to do it. Plus, McAvoy is just 23 years old. He will only continue to get better at all ends of the ice from here. That should delight Bruins fans and terrify the rest of the league. This contract is great now, but it is going to look even better in a few years. There will undoubtedly be a Norris Trophy (awarded annually to the league’s best defensemen) or two during this contract.
Charlie McAvoy is now officially the next in a long line of franchise defensemen for the Bruins, and I for one cannot wait to watch him continue to thrive in the Black and Gold for years to come.
-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)
Featured image courtesy of Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports.
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