Charlie McAvoy has broken free of the Boston Bruins' internal hierarchy.
McAvoy reached a maximum-term eight-year extension with the Bruins on Friday worth $76 million. It's the richest deal in team history, and will pay the star defenseman $9.5 million annually through the 2029-2030 season.
McAvoy is also scheduled to be the team's highest earner by nearly $3 million when the extension kicks in next season.
That last part is key. While timing has been on its side, Bruins management has worked wonders in the salary cap era, having earners fall in behind their considerably underpaid captain Patrice Bergeron at under $7 million. Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and most recently Taylor Hall each seemed to take less to slot into an appropriate position within the team — a level of buy-in that has helped the organization immensely.
However, with McAvoy, it seems the only applicable reference points were found outside the organization, as internal comparables didn't appear to apply. The 23-year-old signed for what was established as market value for No. 1 or perceived No. 1 defensemen, agreeing to a figure that compares to what Seth Jones, Zach Werenski and Cale Makar jumped at this past summer.
McAvoy is an undeniably important player for the Bruins and there is an argument that he belongs at the top of the earnings heap — at least when looking toward the future, certainly. Locking him up for eight seasons at a manageable number was extremely important, and at no point should the contract be considered overvalued for one of the best young defensemen in the game. Aside from Makar, McAvoy is as strong a bet as any recently extended blue-liner to outperform the number on his contract.
Charlie McAvoy is worth every penny as arguably the league's best two-way defenceman at five-on-five. pic.twitter.com/MCN3vpY594
— dom at the athletic (@domluszczyszyn) October 15, 2021
As it is with any big deal, the negative is how it might impact future negotiations, especially in Boston after the systems that kept salaries down have now been compromised. Bergeron and Pastrnak need contracts next, and are up in one and two seasons, respectively. It is possible that it's not a consideration with Bergeron, who hasn't committed to returning next year and for seasons beyond.
McAvoy is entering his fifth season, and has registered 24 goals and 122 points in 235 career games. He's been the team's on-ice leader over the last few seasons, logging more and more minutes on the power play and penalty kill.
His highest points total in a season is 32 in 2019-20, though he scored at a 48-point pace in last year's 56-game season.
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