2016 NHL Draft: Charlie McAvoy
Could the Predators use a right-handed defenseman that models his game after Drew Doughty? Yep.
- Position: D
- Shoots: Right
- Height: 6'0" (via NHL Combine)
- Weight:199 lbs (via NHL Combine)
- Team: Boston University (NCAA)
- Hometown: Long Beach, NY
- Birth Year: December 21, 1997/
Who is Charlie McAvoy?
This past season McAvoy lit the lamp three times and added 22 helpers in 37 games manning the blue line for Boston University. The freshman's 22 assists were the second most among all Terriers this season and he was named to the Eastern Conference's All-Rookie team. McAvoy also played for Team USA at the World Junior Championship but did not record a point during the team's seven games on their way to bronze in Finland.
Nothing jumps off of the page for McAvoy, sure his point total at Boston is nothing to scoff at by any means, but nothing says "hey, this guy is NHL ready."
With that being said, this year's NHL Draft isn't loaded with top-end blue line talent. There isn't a guy, at least among projections and scouting reports, that could be 'the next big thing' right away. McAvoy will need time to develop, but he certainly could turn into a special talent.
The first thing that jumps out about his game is his skating ability as you will see in the highlight video below. The young man can skate, he can protect the puck and he definitely has that playmaker mentality and skill set to turn into a special player at the next level.
Where would McAvoy fit?
Much like we said in our profile about Jake Bean, if drafted by Nashville, McAvoy would be learning from some of the best puck moving and skating defensemen in the NHL in Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and the underappreciated Mattias Ekholm. He has shown us to this point that he can skate among the elite at Boston and with the United States at the World Junior Championship, but the option of skating with the aforementioned group wouldn't do a bit of harm for him or any other young d-man in the system for that matter.
When it comes to where McAvoy would fit on the Preds' blue line, the easy answer is any of the three pairings on the right side. Shea Weber of course has the right side of the top pairing locked up for years to come and likely until his hockey days or Nashville days are done, but the best case scenario would be for McAvoy to be molded as the next top pairing right handed d-man in Nashville.
No, he isn't six-foot-four and 235 lbs nor does he have the hardest slap shot in hockey, but that isn't a bad thing if he could turn into a Drew Doughty type player, which is already the player he molds himself after. I don't think a Doughty-esque blue liner to play alongside Josi would be such a bad thing.
This is all of course best case scenario. When it's all said and done, McAvoy could be the next Doughty or he could be a skater who never even steps foot on NHL ice.
Quotes discussing McAvoy:
"I like to play like Drew Doughty," said McAvoy after completing a grueling day of testing yesterday ahead of the June 24-25 draft. "I think he’s a complete player and I try to pride myself on being a complete player, someone who can play both ends of the ice."
"You hear a lot of comparisons to Doughty," Terriers coach David Quinn said. "That’s a lofty comparison. But here’s a guy who was the youngest kid in college hockey last season (not turning 18 until December) and he certainly wasn’t out of place in any situation." - Stephen Harris, Boston Herald.
"I think the biggest thing I learned at the NTDP was gap control," McAvoy said. "Gap control is everything. The sooner you can close out a play coming at you and turn it right back up and transition to offense, the better off. That's how the game should be played. I worked with my coaches on gap control for two years and it really paid off for me." - Mike Morreale, NHL.com
Here's something from Gare Joyce of SportsNet that puts things into perspective:
Said one veteran scout who had viewed McAvoy five times on top of the world juniors: "The defencmen with top-pair upside here are Juolevi and Sergachev. Chychrun is at best a No. 3 defenceman [on a winning team] down the line. McAvoy might be a bit more of a wild card. The choice between Chychrun and McAvoy will come down to whether you like McAvoy’s hockey sense or Chychrun’s physical tools. Either way, if they’re not top-pair defencemen, then how do you spend a top ten pick on them?"