When it comes to the Norris Trophy, Charlie McAvoy isn’t some fringe, longshot or even a “maybe one day he’ll get there” type of candidate.
The Boston Bruins blueliner is right in the thick of the conversation.
Long the future of the Bruins’ back end, McAvoy has really taken a leap this season following the departure of Zdeno Chara. With Jeremy Lauzon and Matt Grzelcyk as his most common partners, McAvoy has proven he can stand alone as one of the game’s premier defenseman.
He’s a swift skater with excellent puck-moving and possessing abilities and rocket of a shot when he uses it. In his own end, he can play like a seasoned shutdown guy, who perfectly mixes the ability to let the game come to him while also being aggressive.
So, how does McAvoy feel about having legitimate candidacy for the Norris?
“It’s cool,” McAvoy admitted before clearly answering the question reluctantly. “I look around at all the defensemen in the league, and a lot of them before I was in the league, looking up to those guys and wanting to pull things from their games and kind of idolizing these guys who are the top defensemen in the league. To be in kind of in a conversation with them is really neat, but I just deflect it all to team success. I just want to be a part of a team that competes every night and wins.”
Not exactly pulling a James Harden.
Hardware or not, the Bruins have a good one in McAvoy, and surely the hope is he will be in Boston for a long, long time.
As for the other candidates for the Norris, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Victor Hedman and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche are the top competition, with Jeff Petry in Montreal also a distant part of the conversation.