Charlie McAvoy is entering the final year of his 3-year deal at a cap hit of $4.9 million. The 23 year-old defenseman is on his second contract but will be a RFA at the end of this current deal, and depending upon the length of his next one, he could still be. It all depends upon what kind of money and term the Bruins are willing to offer and how much, if any, of McAvoy’s UFA years he’s willing to eat up. Will McAvoy want to take a discount, leaving money on the table so the team can be stocked up around him, ala Brad Marchand? Or will Charlie want all that’s coming to him? One thing’s for sure: the contracts given out this summer for defensemen have not exactly helped keep that money low.
Earlier this summer, Seth Jones was traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets after stating that he was unwilling to sign an extension with the team. Soon after his trade to Chicago (and his brother Caleb’s trade there), the right-shooting defenseman signed an 8-year, $76 million deal with the Blackhawks. At 26, this deal looks a little overvalued but by age 34, it will not have aged well.
When comparing the two players (Jones vs McAvoy) numbers last year via Natural Stat Trick, Charlie McAvoy has excellent numbers with regards to advanced stats like CF% (57.24 to 47.94). Charlie starts more often in all zones as opposed to Jones and while Jones straight up power play numbers are better, Jones doesn’t play heavy minutes on the penalty kill, which was asked more of McAvoy last season with PK specialist Brandon Carlo out for significant injury time.
Jones’ former teammate Zach Werenski and pairing partner also struck a new deal starting in 2022. The 24 year-old left shooter signed an extension of 6 years at a cap hit of $9,583,333. In direct comparables, McAvoy is again better at his contributions to the team on the ice than Werenski.
Yesterday, the St Louis Blues signed second pairing defenseman Colton Parayko to an extension, one that seems very reasonable. Now this is not a comparable deal in that his pairing is different and Parayko is already of the age to be an UFA. His deal was for full term (8 years) and $52 million or a cp hot of $6.5 million. So, this should be looked at as a floor for a McAvoy deal.
Don Sweeney should get this deal in the bag before McAvoy really breaks out and becomes a Norris finalist. With a floor of $6.5 million and a ceiling of upwards of $10 million due to his comparables with other players, this next deal will be sweet for Charlie and hard for everyone else. Thankfully, Sweeney is great at negotiating with the players already on his roster.
With virtually every player that is on the Bruins and those new to the team saying that team culture is important, McAvoy’s extension will be a test of that team-first mentality that so many before him have considered when negotiating that next deal. Let’s hope that Charlie really wants to be here.