The Bruins’ defensive core, led by Charlie McAvoy, has been part of Boston’s backbone over the past two seasons.

McAvoy has been invaluable on and off the ice, and Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery noticed the drive the 26-year-old possesses whenever he steps on the ice.

“Charlie McAvoy is wanting to be and having the ability to be Scott Niedermayer and Scott Stevens is why he’s so valuable and so talented,” Montgomery told reporters at the Bruins end-of-season press conference at TD Garden on Wednesday, per team transcript. “That’s why I think he can mix and match with a lot of people”

The seven-year veteran scored 12 goals and added 35 assists in 74 regular-season games for the Bruins while logging an average of 24:51 minutes of ice time. He also registered 159 hits and 159 blocks in those contests. In Boston’s 13 postseason games, McAvoy had six points, 34 blocks and 53 hits while averaging more than 25 minutes of ice time.

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“For quite a long time, the other team targeted Ray Bourque every goddamn night,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said at the end-of-season press conference on Wednesday, per team transcript. “Let’s be honest, that’s what happens in the playoffs. They know what key components on other rosters are and they’re going to try and attack it.”

Sweeney continued: “That’s an opportunity for other players to step forward. Charlie embraces that opportunity to play against the best players and to hopefully stare them down.”

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Mason Lohrei expressed the need to pinch himself whenever he was paired with McAvoy, and the two complemented each other on the ice. However, Montgomery said he couldn’t confirm that the duo would be paired together in the upcoming season.

“As far as who’s going to be his partner next year, I think it’s a little premature to be looking at that,” Montgomery said. “Whether it’s Lohrei, (Hampus) Lindholm, those things will work itself out once the roster is more complete coming towards training camp we’ll have a better idea.”

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The Bruins are in a good spot with their defensive core for the 2024-25 season. Barring any offseason moves, McAvoy, Lohrei, Lindholm, Brandon Carlo, Andrew Peeke and Parker Wotherspoon are locked up with Derek Forbort, Matt Grzelcyk and Kevin Shattenkirk all unrestricted free agents as of July 1.

Featured image via Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images