If the Boston Bruins are looking for the next Patrice Bergeron, a player to represent the organization, is well respected throughout the league, and plays the game the right way, the search for the next captain should begin and end with Charlie McAvoy.
There isn’t a standard for what makes a player worthy of being a captain: it’s not about when you’re drafted, and previous leadership experience isn’t mandatory. It may help, but isn’t the one defining characteristic a team looks for.
But sometimes, a player just shows he possesses the traits. McAvoy has seen leadership, learned from watching, but also has a feeling for what good leadership is.
Causeway Crowd’s Brandon Quast felt this way last year, before Bergeron returned for one more season. It was an understandable decision for the Bruins last year. For the 2023-24 season, the choice is as obvious as last year – McAvoy should be named the next captain, following Bergeron’s retirement.
On and off the ice, Charlie McAvoy has what it takes to be the next Boston Bruins captain
In just six years McAvoy has established himself as one of the Bruins’ best players, and, what’s more, one of the cornerstones of the franchise. His leadership has already been recognized going back to 2021 when, for the first time, he was an alternate captain in a preseason loss to the New York Rangers. His comments after the game showed he understood what leadership is:
"“I try to be a leader in whatever way I can, whether it’s being vocal at times or just trying to lead by example,” McAvoy said. “Whether you have a letter on your chest or not, I don’t think that really means anything with your standing and responsibility with the team in terms of trying to push the other guys or taking charge when you need to and feel like you should.”"
It’s likely McAvoy watched closely how Bergeron led the team for the past three seasons. Playing alongside Zdeno Chara to start his career probably also left an impression on the former Boston University Terrier. With mentors like Bergeron and Chara, their impact on McAvoy will prepare him for when he assumes the captaincy.
Leadership isn’t about numbers. Hampus Lindholm is more offensive as a defenseman, and David Pastrnak is an elite scorer. But neither are a physical presence like McAvoy. McAvoy is a willing hitter and can set the tone for the team, without crossing the line.
Playing within the lines is also important for being the next captain. While some suggests Brad Marchand is an option for the next captain, Marchand has been suspended eight times in his career, with the latest last season for roughing/high sticking Pittsburgh Penguins’ goalie Tristan Jarry with less than :30 left in the game.
A captain can’t let his frustrations get the best of him and lash out like Marchand had for years. And for anyone saying Marchand waited for his turn, experience doesn’t guarantee a player develops the instincts to be a leader. Marchand played much of his career on Bergeron’s line. Clearly not enough Bergeron rubbed off on Marchand.
McAvoy is a player that’s tough to play against, but isn’t dirty. Boston can be the Big, Bad Bruins with McAvoy leading the team without a reputation for taking things too far on the ice.
Or off. See Marchand’s trash talking, which is embarrassing at this point.
McAvoy’s youth, high character helps his candidacy
With McAvoy as captain, the Bruins would not be on the hunt for a long time. At just 25 years old, he is under contract through the 2029-30 season. That shouldn’t be the case for McAvoy.
McAvoy plays hard in all situations, has high character, and will check most of the boxes. The lone exception being his lack of veteran status.
Maybe the Boston Bruins want a captain with more experience. But it seems inevitable that McAvoy will wear the “C” at some point in his career. If that’s the case, there’s no need for McAvoy to wait his turn. He’s deserving now.