Ray Bourque breaks down Charlie McAvoy's game: 'He's got it all'


If anyone knows what it takes to be an elite NHL defenseman, it's Ray Bourque. The Bruins legend won five Norris Trophies as the best defenseman in the league, the fourth-most in history (and it should have been more, but we'll put that aside for now).

So when Bourque talks about the Bruins' current No. 1 defenseman, Charlie McAvoy, it's worth paying attention.

Bourque joined The Greg Hill Show Wednesday morning to talk about the Bruins' first-round series against the Capitals, and broke down McAvoy's game and what he sees from the 23-year-old.

"I mean, it’s unlimited in terms of how good this kid can be," Bourque said of McAvoy. "He’s got it all. He’s got the size, the speed, the offensive skills, he’s very solid defensively, he plays very physical. So he’s an all-around player. I think it’s just a matter of time before you see Charlie being one of the Norris contenders year in, year out. His progression is coming along. It’s a great time to be at your best during the playoffs where everybody’s watching."

McAvoy was certainly at his best in the Bruins' Game 2 win. While he didn't register a point, he was on the ice for all four Bruins goals and had a plus-4 rating in nearly 27 minutes of ice time. In his 20 minutes of even-strength ice time, the Bruins led the Capitals 44-21 in shot attempts, 28-11 in shots on goal, 14-4 in high-danger chances, and 4-0 in goals.

In the third period, at a time when some players might need a little more rest, especially in such a physical game, McAvoy played 9:39 total in the period and 5:06 in the final 8:51 of regulation, leaving his coach, Bruce Cassidy, to wonder if he has "extra large lungs."

McAvoy has a strong case to be a Norris finalist this season due to his defensive excellence -- he ranks fourth among all defensemen in goals above replacement, according to Evolving-Hockey, for instance -- but will likely miss out since he is not yet one of the highest-scoring defensemen in the league. McAvoy's 30 points this season ranked 25th among blue-liners.

For now, he'll have to settle for the extremely high praise from one of the greatest defensemen to ever play.

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