Charlie McAvoy already showing flashes of brilliance in Providence
When Charlie McAvoy announced that he was turning pro after two seasons at Boston University, the media coverage, to say the least, was unlike anything for a prospect anyone around has seen for quite some time. On the sports segments of the late night news, to video of McAvoy skating in his first practice floating around the internet, the amount of attention the Bruins’ First Round pick from a year ago received (and continues to receive) was astonishing.
But all one needs to do is sit back and really watch McAvoy play, and you will see why he is getting all the hype. In just two games with the Providence Bruins, McAvoy is already turning heads with his crisp passing, ability to join the rush when needed, decent defensive skills; really anything else you can think of that a defenseman requires to have a successful pro career.
“I don’t feel out of place at all,” McAvoy said after this past Sunday’s win over the Hartford Wolfpack at the Dunkin Donuts Center. “I think I can come in and contribute and make the plays that a lot like what I did in college.” Making plays is exactly what McAvoy has been doing, registering two assists, one in each game, and sporting a plus-2 rating to go along with four shots on net. But what’s equally impressive about McAvoy’s game are the plays he makes that don’t usually show up on the score sheet, not to mention the way he can stay composed in just his second professional game.
“[McAvoy’s] just so composed, I can’t believe it,” P-Bruins Head Coach Kevin Dean said after Sunday’s game. “His transition game in the first period was terrific. We were kind of lagging early and Charlie made two or three nice plays up the middle in transition that got us some good zone time and got the game going for us.”
But what most B’s fans could be most excited about with McAvoy is his playmaking capabilities.
On Saturday, while on the road against the Springfield Thunderbirds and trailing 3-0, McAvoy whipped a near-perfect pass to Jordan Szwarz, who netted a one-timer to get Providence on the board midway through the second period.
One night later, McAvoy would setup Szwarz once again on the power-play late in the second. After passing up a shot, McAvoy slung a tape-to-tape pass to an awaiting Szwarz in front, who promptly stuffed the puck past Hartford goalie Chris Nell to put the Bruins up 3-0.
“It’s fun to play with guys that can get you the puck,” McAvoy said on the adjustment to the pro game, “So it’s exciting. The competition is good, guys have better sticks, guys track you really hard. You might not be able to get away with as much but you can still play with a lot of creativity and there’s definitely room to make plays.”
As the Boston Bruins have wrapped up a return to the postseason following their 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, the lingering questions remain on whether McAvoy will be called up.
Will Boston take a look at him during the last two games, and if they do, will it be for the sake of looking at him or is the front office convinced he can contribute in the race for the second and third seeds? What about the playoffs themselves? Will McAvoy get his first shot then? Or will the Bruins keep him in Providence to help with their own playoff race.
“Right now I’m focused on where I’m at [in Providence],” McAvoy stated about the possibility of being called up. “If something like that happens, that’s for later on, but for now I’m honored to start here in Providence and everyday I’m just trying to get better.”
“I don’t see anything that is really a huge red flag,” says Dean on whether he thinks McAvoy is ready to make the leap to the NHL. “With some players you do, but there’s nothing really glaring with Charlie. He skates well, he competes hard, he’s physical, he uses his body to get position, makes a good first pass, gets up the ice, there’s a lot of good stuff there.”
How soon it will be before McAvoy gets his first call up to Boston may remain a mystery, one thing does remain fairly certain, Bruins fans will not be waiting long to see Charlie McAvoy skating on the Garden ice.