Bruins president Cam Neely stated earlier this week that the team was closing in on a McAvoy extension. It honestly was smart for Neely and company to get McAvoy locked up early, as the star defenseman could have been a restricted free agent during next offseason. Rather than risk the prospect of an offer sheet, the Bruins simply completed this monstrous task before the start of the regular season.
The first big thing to note about McAvoy’s extension is that it is the most expensive contract ever signed by a Bruins’ player. For many years, the Bruins have been able to sign players to smaller salaries due to the team’s philosophy. Essentially, key Bruins would sign for far less than what they actually could have received on the open market. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak are clear examples of this. One could even argue that Taylor Hall accepting a four-year deal with a $6 million cap hit also follows that.
However, with multiple NHL defensemen receiving huge contracts this summer, a new market has been set league-wide. It was going to be quite hard for the Bruins to sign McAvoy long-term at a cap hit far less than what he’s truly worth. If he were to have hit the market as an unrestricted free agent later down the road, he could have easily made at least $10 million per season.
Here are a few contracts from this summer signed by notable defensemen:
Seth Jones (CHI) – eight years, $76 million ($9.5 million AAV)
Zach Werenski (CBJ) – six years, $57.5 million ($9.583 million AAV)
Cale Makar (COL) – six years, $54 million ($9 million AAV)
Miro Heiskanen (DAL) – eight years, $67.6 million ($8.45 million AAV)
Dougie Hamilton (NJD) – seven years, $63 million ($9 million AAV)
The Bruins have McAvoy locked up for his best years
The cherry on top with this contract is that McAvoy will be in his prime years throughout it. He is still just 23 years old and still continuing to improve with each season that passes. In 51 games last season, he recorded five goals and 25 assists. He also sported a +22 rating because of his sound defensive play. He’s a true star defenseman in this league and likely will end up winning a Norris Trophy by the completion of his extension. He’s already been a contender for it.
With the Bruins’ core getting older, McAvoy sticking around long-term was a real necessity for the team. This, in theory, should help enhance the Bruins chances of remaining competitive later down the road. McAvoy is a true top-pairing defenseman and it’s fair to state that fans may not have even seen the best of him yet.
In 235 career games with the Bruins, McAvoy has 24 goals, 98 assists and 122 points. Those statistics are surely to skyrocket by the time his extension expires.
The Bruins’ right side will remain strong for a long time. Not only do the Bruins have McAvoy locked up for eight more seasons after this one, but also re-signed Brandon Carlo to a six-year deal this summer as well. In terms of defense, the future certainly is looking quite promising.