NHL free agency has died down considerably over the last few weeks, and to fill the void of news, outlets across the sport will be releasing their positional rankings entering the upcoming season.
The NHL Network unveils its top 20 players at each position every offseason, and it released the list of the best defensemen on Sunday.
Charlie McAvoy was the only Boston Bruins player to make the list. He came in at No. 9.
Here's the top 10:
- Victor Hedman, Lightning
- Roman Josi, Predators
- John Carlson, Capitals
- Alex Pietrangelo, Golden Knights
- Seth Jones, Blue Jackets
- Cale Makar, Avalanche
- Dougie Hamilton, Hurricanes
- Kris Letang, Penguins
- Charlie McAvoy, Bruins
- Miro Heiskanen, Stars
McAvoy absolutely belongs on this list. He tallied 32 points (five goals, 27 assists) in 67 games for Boston last season. His true value goes well beyond the common box score stats, though.
The Bruins were plus-79 in shot attempts, plus-68 in shots on net, plus-20 in goals scored, plus-89 in scoring chances and plus-48 in high-danger scoring chances during 5-on-5 action when McAvoy was on the ice during the 2019-20 campaign.
He drives scoring and puck possession at a positive rate, all while playing more than 20 minutes per game against the opponents' top forwards. McAvoy also is a key contributor on Boston's power play and penalty kill.
McAvoy is a franchise defenseman who the Bruins would be wise to build their blue line around for the next decade. It would not be a surprise if he finds his way into the top five of this NHL Network ranking in the near future.