By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Charlie McAvoy may have the skill to contribute at the NHL level right now, but it’s his intangibles that may have the 19-year-old donning the spoked ‘B’ sooner rather than later.
The Bruins would burn the first year of McAvoy’s entry-level contract if they brought him up to the NHL before the end of the current season. But the move hasn’t been ruled out – not even by GM Don Sweeney, who hit the road over the weekend to see each of McAvoy’s first two games with the Providence Bruins in person.
The 2016 first-round pick notched two assists in his first two AHL games, showing off his slick puck-moving skills. Sweeney spoke highly of McAvoy’s abilities – and perhaps more importantly, his calmness under pressure.
“His poise is probably what stands out the most,” said Sweeney on McAvoy, according to CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty. “His understanding of holding it for that one extra second and not panicking in certain situations [was noticeable] as was his offensive blue line stuff. That stuff is nice and he’s made some nice high-end plays [on offense].”
McAvoy is known for his ability to make things happen with the puck on his stick. But like any young defenseman, he still needs time to develop his game without the puck. Sweeney acknowledged that as well.
“His puck play stuff is really good and now he’s learning in terms of structure without the puck,” said Sweeney. “That’s probably the area that continues to need to be worked on.”
If there’s anything that would hold McAvoy back from cracking the Boston roster before the end of the season, it would be his lack of experience and development playing in the defensive end at the pro level. But his skills with the puck could be among the best on Boston right away, which is why Haggerty suggested on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Monday that he may be a better option than Colin Miller right now.
Sweeney may not feel McAvoy is ready for the NHL just yet, but the GM has yet to rule out calling him up. If there’s a long-term injury at the bottom of the Boston depth chart, it could get interesting.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.