Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Blog: Former BU Star Charlie McAvoy Will Take the Bruins By Storm

By Nick Beaudoin (@beaudoin91_)

Charlie McAvoy is the future of the Boston Bruins franchise.

He is a generational talent, and the Bruins may have made one of the greatest picks in the team’s 93-year history when they selected McAvoy 14th overall in last year’s draft. The 6 foot, 208-pound offensive defenseman has played at the highest ranks of American hockey his entire life. McAvoy is product of the NTDP (National Team Development Program) in Ann Arbor, Michigan and, most recently, the storied hockey program at Boston University.

A native of Long Beach, New York, McAvoy just finished up his fourth game in the AHL (American Hockey League), playing for Boston’s affiliate, the Providence Bruins. He currently has two points and is a plus three in those four games, but it's more than the stats that make McAvoy such a special player.

His ability to jump up in the rush without leaving his team at risk defensively is remarkable. He is one of the greatest skaters I have ever seen, moving gracefully both laterally, and north and south on the ice. His shot is both hard and accurate, and he knows what he is going to do with the puck before he gets it.

You can tell that his hockey sense and IQ are off the charts. He kills penalties, sacrifices his body and runs a power play like no one else. He is a three-zone player, which is something you don’t see from a defenseman very often.

McAvoy has taken a great deal from his (short) time in Providence.

“With every game I’m getting a little more experience," McAvoy said. "It’s a fun group of guys.”

A big reason McAvoy was able to sign his ATO (Amateur Try Out) with the Bruins when he did, was because his season with BU ended after the Terriers lost in overtime to the national runner-up Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.

“It was a quick turnaround” McAvoy added. “We lost to Duluth Saturday and I signed Wednesday, so it was a bit of a whirlwind. It was something I wanted to do. I wanted to get to my next destination, which was Providence, and continue to play hockey while I was fresh.”

McAvoy said the transition so far has been positive.

“The guys on this team make it really easy, and I was fortunate to have the transition I did.”

His time at Boston University, although only two years, was very beneficial for McAvoy both personally and athletically. The star defenseman says that positive culture began with coach David Quinn.

“Coach Quinn was one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for," McAvoy serif. "We were able to build a great relationship, and he taught me so much about the defensive position. I’m so fortunate to have gone to BU and played under such a great coach.”

One of the most influential leaders now with the Providence Bruins is 27-year-old veteran Tommy Cross, and the captain has helped ease McAvoy's transition to the next level.

“(Cross) makes it really easy” McAvoy said. “I’m able to go out there and play my game and he helps me settle down.”

McAvoy donned the “A” at both the World Junior Championships, where he won a gold medal with Team USA, and at Boston University. He is a leader on and off the ice and knows what it takes in big games, and he knows how to win.

However, at only 19 years of age, even a born leader might find it hard to fit in with grown men in their 30’s and even 40’s. Still, McAvoy isn't having trouble finding a role in an older locker room.

“I don’t try to step on the toes of the guys who are our leaders here," McAvoy said. "They are well distinguished and they have been around, and know exactly how it goes. I do try to mix in and support the guys as much as I can and be vocal here and there.”

As both the Providence and Boston Bruins gear up for the playoffs, there is speculation that, with recent injuries to defensemen Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug, McAvoy could get the call up to the big club. McAvoy was even a late scratch for Providence's last game, and began practicing with the Bruins Monday.

Still, McAvoy just wants to focus on his game, wherever he is.

“Right now, I want to focus on where I am, which is Providence” he said last Sunday. “I’m excited to be here and the team is playing really well right now.”

There is no question that, when Charlie McAvoy gets the call to Boston, he will have an impact right away. He has everything it takes on and off the ice to be a great professional, and the Bruins need to do everything in their power to sign him long term when his entry level contract is up.

A great player and a better guy, Charlie McAvoy is the real deal. Welcome to Beantown.

1 comment :

AverageBostonian said...

Great take. Macavoy will log important minutes in the postseason. Very exciting to see a young player have such an immediate and important impact