The start of Bruins training camp is less than 24 hours away and the expectation is that both Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo won’t be there as unsigned restricted free agents.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney gave the best update he could on Wednesday afternoon while discussing Bruce Cassidy’s contract extension, and it didn’t amount to much of an update at all.
“Still works in progress. We continue to communicate every day and we remain hopeful that we can find the landing spot for both players,” said Sweeney. “Obviously they’re important to our hockey club and we’re going to continue working at it.”
Certainly, as mentioned earlier this week, the three-year, $15 million bridge deal for Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski is going to make an impact on negotiations with the 21-year-old McAvoy. One could very easily envision McAvoy signing the same kind of bridge deal if both sides can’t find common ground on a long term contract, and if the clock begins ticking on the regular season for one of Boston’s most important players.
It shouldn’t be nearly as difficult for Carlo, who should be in line for something in the neighborhood of $3-4 million per season on a three-year contract based on comparable RFAs around the league.
Sweeney also mentioned earlier this week at the Bruins rookie camp that he’s not interested in signing his RFA’s to contracts that will take them directly to free agency, so that leaves a window for the kind of term that the B’s/McAvoy would be looking at for a contract.
Basically the Bruins won’t be offering Carlo a four-year deal, and they won’t be offering McAvoy any five-year contract offers. Either they are going to retain some of their restricted free agent seasons for another negotiation down the line after a bridge deal, or they are going to move longer-term with a pair of bona fide top-4 defensemen.
As of right now, however, the Bruins are without their future No. 1 D-man in McAvoy after he played brilliantly during the Stanley Cup playoffs, and they are without their top young shutdown D-man in Carlo with camp set to begin. Both are young players that could still benefit greatly from training camp leading into the regular season, but their head coach doesn’t want that to become a distraction for the team as they ready for the new season.
“It’s a hypothetical now and I’ll be able to answer it a little better once we get going,” said Cassidy. “But at the end of the day as a coach you coach the guys that are there. That’s the business side of it. I hope they both do well and get what they deserve, and after that we’ll get them ready to go. I think any coach will tell you that they don’t want guys to miss [training camp time]. You want your team and you want your guys that you’ll be working with.
“But if they’re not there then guys like [Connor] Clifton and maybe [Urho] Vaakanainen – guys that play the right side – will get a better look.”
Training camp will begin for the Bruins on Thursday morning with the first preseason games to get going pretty quickly next week with the B’s playing a short six-game exhibition schedule following their short summer break.
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