Cap comparables: Bruins' Charlie McAvoy joins elite company

Charlie McAvoy took a set-up from David Krejci and hammered home a shot from the point to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead in the third over the Islanders.

Aleksander Barkov, Mika Zibanejad, Nick Suzuki, Brady Tkachuk and Ryan Pullock have all earned lucrative, long-term contracts in the past week alone.

Well, you can add Charlie McAvoy's name to this list of stars after the defenceman signed an eight-year, $76-million extension with the Boston Bruins, the team announced Friday.

McAvoy has finished top-10 in Norris Trophy voting in each of the past two years and will continue piloting Boston’s top defensive pairing and top power-play unit in 2021-22.

The 14th-overall pick from 2016 is a talented puck mover whose career plus-80 plus/minus rating ranks second among all defencemen since 2017-18 behind only Victor Hedman.

McAvoy’s 122 points in 235 games since debuting in 2017 ranks 34th overall among all defencemen but sixth among defencemen aged 25 or younger.

Here’s a look at how McAvoy, and his new deal that kicks in for 2022-23, stacks up alongside other notable blueliners in their early- to late-20s on long-term deals with relatively substantial annual salary cap hits.

(Players ordered by AAV with current ages in parentheses.)

• Zachary Werenski (24) six years, $9.583M cap hit through 2028
Charlie McAvoy (23) eight years, $9.5M cap hit through 2030
• Seth Jones (27) eight years, $9.5M cap hit through 2030
• Darnell Nurse (26) eight years, $9.25M cap hit through 2030
• Dougie Hamilton (28) seven years, $9M cap hit through 2028
• Cale Makar (22) six years, $9M cap hit through 2027
• Miro Heiskanen (22) eight years, $8.45M cap hit through 2027
• Thomas Chabot (24) eight years, $8M cap hit through 2028
• Jacob Trouba (27) seven years, $8M cap hit through 2026
• Quinn Hughes (22) six years, $7.85M cap hit through 2027
• Aaron Ekblad (25) eight years, $7.5M cap hit through 2025
• Ivan Provorov (24) six years, $6.75M cap hit through 2025

Quite the dynamic group, isn’t it?

Taking more than 11 per cent of his team’s cap means McAvoy will be counted on to continue producing at least at the same rate he usually does – otherwise the optics won’t be great.

If the Bruins struggle as Makar, Hughes, Hamilton and others pile up significantly better point totals than McAvoy, the Long Beach, N.Y., native could bear the brunt of criticism from a loyal fan base.

However, if McAvoy’s recent playoff production is any indication of the numbers he’s capable of posting in the future then fans won’t have anything about which to worry. McAvoy had a career-best 12 points in 11 playoff games earlier this year.

Werenski is the only contemporary whose 2022-23 cap hit his currently higher than McAvoy’s, however it’s Werenski’s former D partner who ends up being the most direct comparison.

Although there’s more than a three-year age difference, Jones and the younger McAvoy have identical term and dollars on their new deals and their respective stat lines over the past three seasons are remarkably similar.

Don’t be surprised if in the next handful of years we see names like Adam Fox, Mikhail Sergachev, Rasmus Dahlin and a few others use McAvoy’s success as a comparative negotiating tool when it comes time for their agents to work on their next deals.

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