With two of the major RFA defensemen already signed, many eyes are looking at Boston Bruins blueliner Charlie McAvoy. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the deal is done with McAvoy signing a three-year deal with a $4.9MM AAV. That is actually slightly less than the deal that Columbus Blue Jackets’ Zach Werenski signed six days ago. He signed a three-year deal with a $5MM AAV.
However, McKenzie notes that McAvoy can make up the difference in three years as his third year salary and qualifying offer base will be $7.3MM, which is $300K more than the $7MM salary that Werenski is scheduled for in three years. The deal looks to be a steal for the Bruins who have inked a top-line defenseman for three more years at a reasonable price.
CapFriendly reports the breakdown of the contract as follows:
2019-20: $1.2MM base salary, $2.5MM signing bonus
2020-21: $2.7MM base salary, $1MM signing bonus
2021-22: $7.3MM base salary
In the end, two of the three big-name RFA defensemen signed bridge deals in McAvoy and Werenski, while Philadelphia was the only team to lock up a player long-term, as they inked Ivan Provorov to a six-year, $40.5MM contract.
McAvoy, the team’s 14th-overall pick in 2016, has shown impressive skills, especially on offense, but has struggled staying healthy in his two seasons. He only appeared in 54 games last season and played in just 63 in his rookie campaign. In 117 games over two seasons, McAvoy has tallied 14 goals and 60 points and if he can stay healthy, could be in line for a bigger output this season.
Regardless, Boston looks at McAvoy as the team’s future No. 1 defenseman and his offensive skill is evident when he’s on the ice, but with plenty of cap concerns, the Bruins might be better off with a short-term deal in hopes of having more cap room available at that time. That could easily happen, however. The team will have a number of contracts coming off their books in the next couple of years, including the $7.25MM they owe David Krejci for the next two years, the $6.88MM they owe a then 37-year-old Patrice Bergeron in three years as well as the $6MM they owe David Backes over the next two years.
The signing now leaves Boston with $3.2MM in projected cap space and the Bruins still need to find cap space to fit their other restricted free agent, Brandon Carlo, to a contract.