By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Two key injuries on the Bruins defense opened the door for the team to call up top prospect Charlie McAvoy. It appears that the first-round pick will make his NHL debut in the playoffs.
The Bruins announced on Monday that they have signed McAvoy to a three-year entry-level contract, officially burning the first year of the deal with the 2016-17 season. TSN’s Aaron Ward had tweeted on Monday that McAvoy is expected to practice with the team at the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie added that he believes burning the first year of a rookie’s entry-level contract is generally “not that big a deal.”
McAvoy, of course, is entirely unproven at the NHL level and is just a couple of weeks removed from playing in the NCAA tournament for the Boston University Terriers. But he has the kind of puck-moving ability that could help the Bruins immediately – especially in the first round of the playoffs, against the Senators’ neutral zone trap style of defense.
WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche is at the Warrior Ice Arena for the Bruins’ practice on Monday, and got a glimpse of McAvoy on the ice.
The Bruins appeared to be trying as hard as possible to avoid burning the first year of McAvoy’s entry-level contract, but a sudden rash of injuries to the Bruins defense have practically forced the team to call him up out of necessity. Torey Krug suffered a lower-body injury last Thursday against the Senators, while Brandon Carlo had to leave Saturday’s regular season finale against the Capitals with an upper-body injury.
McAvoy’s call-up is a strong indication that Krug and Carlo will both be out on Wednesday in Game 1 of the Bruins’ series against the Senators, and possibly longer.
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 email@example.com.