By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Charlie McAvoy’s NHL debut went about as well as one could expect for a 19-year-old defenseman thrust into the lineup out of necessity. Two key injuries on the Bruins defense practically forced the team to burn the first year of McAvoy’s entry-level contract, but the rookie showed in his first NHL game that he will be well worth the price.
McAvoy finished with 24:11 of ice time, second only to captain Zdeno Chara, and was a plus-1 with a hit, two blocked shots, and three shot attempts. The plus-1 came from Brad Marchand’s game-winning goal, which you can watch in the video above – but what you can’t see in the video is the key role that McAvoy played in making the goal happen.
The shift that led to Marchand’s goal got started in the Senators’ zone in the first place because McAvoy was able to lead the rush through the neutral zone with a pass to Patrice Bergeron, who chipped the puck in.
McAvoy also kept the shift alive when he held the puck in the offensive zone twice in a span of about 20 seconds. First, he pinched in to stone the Sens’ breakout attempt, while Bergeron and Chara covered him on the back end:
Then, he stopped another breakout attempt from the point:
Marchand scored just 16 seconds later.
All in all, it was an impressive debut for a 19-year-old who was playing for Boston University just a few weeks ago. He looked poised when he carried the puck, didn’t try to do too much, and showed the kind of mobility that the Bruins will need to consistently beat the Senators’ trap defense.
McAvoy may not have shown up much on the score sheet in his NHL debut, but he still made a considerable impact.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer 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.