One of the most important goals for the Boston Bruins between now and next July should be signing defenseman Charlie McAvoy to a contract extension, preferably a long-term deal.
The 23-year-old star is entering the final year of his contract and eligible to be a restricted free agent next summer.
Where do the Bruins and McAvoy's camp stand in figuring out an extension? B's president Cam Neely provided an update Wednesday.
“We’re gonna hopefully get Charlie McAvoy done here shortly,” Neely said on a Zoom call with reporters. He later added: “Don and Evan have been working with Charlie’s camp the last couple days. My hopes are we’ll see something here in short order, but you never know until it’s signed on the dotted line.”
If you look at recent extensions done with defenseman who are similar to McAvoy in age and skill -- such as Cale Makar, Miro Heiskanen, Zach Werenski, etc. -- a contract seven to eight years in length with a salary cap hit around $9 million would be fair for both sides.
“I haven’t heard any indication that Charlie wouldn’t want to play here for his whole career," Neely said. "That’s what we’re looking towards, and hopefully we can get something done that gives him an opportunity to do just that.
"We’ll see where it goes. But I think Charlie’s embraced Boston. He went to college here. I think he likes the city, loves the sports environment, loves our fanbase, playing in front of a packed house every night is something special.”
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said Wednesday afternoon during a Zoom call with the media that "nothing is imminent" on the McAvoy front but he is "hopeful" something will be worked out.
McAvoy is one of the league's best defenseman and a popular pick to be a finalist for the Norris Trophy at the end of the 2021-22 NHL season. He's the type of No. 1, foundational defenseman that most Stanley Cup champions have on their blue line.
These players are hard to find, whether it's through the draft, free agency or the trade market. The Bruins selected McAvoy with the No. 14 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. He made his debut during the 2017-18 season and quickly established himself as a key member of the blue line.
The Bruins play their first game of the 2021-22 season Saturday night when they host the Dallas Stars at TD Garden.