By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Charlie McAvoy is getting thrown right into the fire. The 19-year-old defenseman appears set to make his NHL debut on Wednesday night when the Bruins kick off the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Ottawa Senators – but that doesn’t mean that McAvoy is going to try to do too much.
Speaking to reporters after his first practice with the NHL club on Monday, McAvoy gave the impression of a young player who is well aware of how young and inexperienced he is at this stage of his career. He knows he can’t develop into a No. 1 defenseman overnight, and plans on just keeping his game as simple as possible when interim head coach Bruce Cassidy puts him on the ice.
“If I get the opportunity to play, [I] just [want to] play simple,” said McAvoy. “Do what I’ve done that’s gotten me to this point, which is just play a simple game and contribute when I can, but play strong hard defense and just do what I can to help the team succeed.”
As a prospect, McAvoy is known for his powerful skating and smooth puck-moving ability. But he also has the upside of a strong two-way defenseman with underrated physicality. One of the few knocks on him is that he can be prone to bad decisions with the puck when trying to make “hero plays,” but if he can weed that out of his game, his upside will grow that much bigger – and he can be an asset for Boston right out of the gate.
McAvoy was pleased with the guidance he received from his coaches and teammates as far as learning the fundamentals of the Bruins’ system.
“It was a great first practice and the communication with [the coaching staff] has been awesome as far as running me through drills and stuff like that, and making sure I get caught up to speed and getting on the same page with everyone else,” said McAvoy.
McAvoy spent less than two weeks in Providence with the AHL affiliate Bruins, but called his time int he minors “an awesome experience” and credited his teammates and coaches with teaching him a lot in a short time about “how to be a pro.” Now that he’s in Boston, McAvoy is going to put that same trust in the NHL club to help him develop into a frontline NHL defenseman.
“The organization is going to decide what’s best for me with my future and putting me in the best position to succeed,” said McAvoy. “I trust their process.”
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.