NHL training camps are fast approaching, and the Boston Bruins still don’t have a new contract for restricted free agent Charlie McAvoy. Perhaps news out of Columbus, however, will help the two sides inch toward a deal.
The Blue Jackets and RFA defenseman Zach Werenski came to terms on a three-year, $15 million contract on Monday, according to multiple reports. The new deal, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, will pay Werenski $4 million in each of the first two seasons before jumping to $7 million in the third year.
So, how does that affect McAvoy? Well, they’re fairly comparable players in similar situations, of course. Werenski, the No. 8 pick in the 2015 draft, just finished his third season on the Columbus blue line, playing all 82 games while scoring 11 goals and adding 33 assists.
McAvoy, a 2016 first-round pick, is coming off his second full season (he debut in the 2017 playoffs). He only appeared in 54 games in 2018-19, but his points-per-game rate would have put him at 43 points in an 82-game slate.
The Philadelphia Flyers find themselves in a similar situation with defenseman Ivan Provorov, who is also an unsigned RFA. TSN’s Frank Seravalli hinted at progress in those talks on a deal similar to that of Werenski’s pact with CBJ.
All three, at their best, are first-pairing D-men, with McAvoy arguably the best of the bunch. But with the market finally coming into focus, it wouldn’t be shocking to see progress made toward a deal as camp gets underway for the defending Eastern Conference champions.
Once the McAvoy domino falls, it’s fair to assume the Bruins could get a deal done with their other RFA defenseman, Brandon Carlo, who also remains unsigned.
UPDATE (2:40 p.m. ET): Some likely informed speculation from TSN’s Bob McKenzie.