BOSTON (CBS) — Training camp opens for the Boston Bruins this week, and their leader in time on ice last year remains without a contract.

That could change quickly, though, after the Columbus Blue Jackets signed Zach Werenski, their own restricted free agent defenseman. The three-year, $15 million contract for the 22-year-old should help set the market around the league.

And for the Bruins, it should kick-start negotiations, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

McKenzie said Monday that the “expectation is talks on McAvoy … will heat up considerably in the next day or two.”

Still, McKenzie cautioned that a three-year deal may not have tremendous bearing on McAvoy.

“Of the two big RFA D, McAvoy has proclaimed his love for BOS and it would appear he’s much more inclined to want to a longer-term deal (6, 7 or 8?) than a bridge (2 or 3),” McKenzie said.

McAvoy, 21, has two NHL seasons under his belt. Though he was limited to 54 games last year, he led the team in average time on ice both in the regular season (22:10) and postseason (24:30). He tallied seven goals and 21 assists during the regular season with a 54.1 Corsi For percentage and a plus-14 rating.

McAvoy and Brandon Carlo are the Bruins’ top restricted free agents this summer.

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