#73 / Defense
Height: 6’0” | Weight: 208 | Born: December 21, 1997
Birthplace: Long Beach, NY | Acquired: Drafted first round (14th overall) by Boston in 2016
Assets: Plays a sound game at both ends of the ice and has plenty of lower-leg strength (good enough to win battles against bigger NHL forwards at the highest level). Thinks the game well.
Flaws: Does he have the ability to quarterback an NHL power play? Also, can he continue to play a physical brand of hockey without optimum size for the highest level? The jury is still out.
Career Potential: Talented, two-way defenseman with upside.
Why You Should Know Who He Is: Charlie McAvoy is the clear number one defensemen for the Boston Bruins, someone who is playing a career-high 24 minutes a night for Boston. McAvoy has also had a dominant season from both a possession and outcome standpoint, as his 57% expected goals percentage and 61% actual goals percentage are amongst the best on the Bruins blue line...despite playing the most difficult matchups. McAvoy is also an excellent passer, and Boston will rely on his passing ability to break out of the defensive zone effectively. Simply put: McAvoy is a monster, and the Caps will be seeing A LOT of him during this series.
How the Caps Can Stop Him: McAvoy is going to play a lot of minutes, so it’ll be incumbent on the Caps to keep him playing in the defensive zone. McAvoy is an adequate defender in his own zone, but as his player card shows, he has some vulnerabilities defensively:
The formula here for McAvoy might fall into the “simple to explain, hard to execute” realm. If the Caps can forecheck McAvoy and keep the puck off of his stick, he can be exposed defensively, and his smaller stature can result in getting outmuscled by bigger bodies. However, if he’s allowed clean exits out of the zone...watch out.