While many young players who are close to seeing their entry-level deals expire are salivating on seeing William Nylander agree to a six-year, $45MM contract Saturday, perhaps one of the biggest beneficiaries of that deal will be Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy. Despite sitting out with a concussion for most of the season so far, McAvoy has already proven to be a franchise-changing defenseman at age 20.
Reports have the Bruins opening contract negotiations at seven years at $6.5MM per season, according to The Athletic’s Joe McDonald (subscription required). That is a nice starting point considering what Nylander just inked. The scribe writes that McAvoy, who has made it clear that he isn’t interested in a bridge deal, could force his way to an eight-year, between $7.5 and $8.0MM.
The Bruins likely have little to fall back on as the team is currently fourth in the Atlantic and seem to be struggling. While the team has been missing multiple players on defense this year, the loss of McAvoy stands out as he is exceptional of moving the puck out of the team’s defensive end and has a unique skillset when it comes to his playmaking ability.
- Speaking of McAvoy, Ty Anderson of 98.5 The Sports Hub reports that he spoke to the defenseman about his lingering concussion. McAvoy says he still taking it “one day at a time,” and there is no current timetable for his return. McAvoy has been out since Oct. 18 and has only appeared in seven games for the Bruins’ this year. He has put up good numbers in that limited time as he has one goals and six points.
- The Buffalo Sabres announced that forward Jason Pominville is out for Monday’s game against Nashville after taking a hit from Alexander Petrovic during Friday’s game against the Panthers. He is expected to return to Buffalo and undergo further evaluation, according to The Athletic’s Jon Vogl. The 36-year-old Pominville has had a bit of a resurgence this year with nine goals and 18 points already in just 27 games and could be headed for a 20-goals season, something that has alluded him since the 2013-14 season. This will be the first game that Pominville has missed since the 2016-17 season.
- Ian Tulloch of The Athletic (subscription required) wonders why the Toronto Maple Leafs have written a pass for forward Connor Brown. With the impending return of William Nylander at some point this week, the team will have to knock a player out of its lineup and send them to the press box with Josh Leivo and Tyler Ennis getting the most attention. However, Tulloch has to wonder why Brown’s name isn’t thrown in with those two as Brown has just three goals and nine points in 27 games this season and has no goals and just two assists in the last 11 games. Tulloch lists him as one of the worst players on the ice for Toronto during Saturday’s win over Minnesota.
- Diana Nearhos of the Tampa Bay Times writes that even thought the Tampa Bay Lightning have been shuffling backup goaltenders every week and not playing any of them, that’s likely to change. The scribe writes that Eddie Pasquale, who was recalled Sunday, will likely get a start for the Lightning as the team has back-to-back games on Monday against New Jersey and Tuesday against Detroit and with Louis Domingue starting to show signs of fatigue, Pasquale will likely make his NHL debut on one of those days.