Charlie McAvoy has played some solid hockey this season, especially as of late. He has quickly established himself as Boston’s #1 defender, and he has found himself logging a lot of minutes lately.
In the first 32 games of the season, Charlie McAvoy logged over 24 minutes in a single game just five times. In the last four games, McAvoy has played over 24 minutes all four games, averaging 26:49 of ice time. His lightest workload was 25:07, all in regulation in Florida. Last night? 27:58. And it’s well deserved.
However, considering McAvoy’s style of play and skill set, you have to scratch your head at 0 goals and 13 assists in 36 games (29 point pace). Although, it does make sense knowing McAvoy takes on a large number of defensive assignments and his lack of PP time with the big dogs. Regardless, it’s okay to be dissatisfied with McAvoy’s offensive numbers, and I’m sure he is as well.
McAvoy is a great skater, creative passer, and sees the ice well, so why is he struggling to generate more offense? According to icydata.hockey, about half of his shots are from above the tops of the circle, which isn’t a dangerous scoring area. Often when McAvoy enters or joins the play in the offensive zone, he’ll attack the back of the net, allowing him to cruise around the net and look for someone in front or in the slot. There have been far too many times when he forces passes through the defense rather than turning and shooting on net. It translates to McAvoy having a whopping 38 giveaways in only 36 games.
If McAvoy can develop a shoot-first mentality while still utilizing his playmaking abilities, he will have a versatile enough arsenal of skills that it’ll open up the ice for him. For example, if a defender has to respect his passing abilities by cheating passing lanes but also has to appreciate his willingness to shoot, it creates hesitation and open space. If McAvoy can shoot from more dangerous areas, he will most certainly score more goals.
Regardless of McAvoy’s offensive struggles, he is generating chances for teammates and playing solid defense. Playing heavy minutes against top lines and playing over 26 minutes is no easy task, but at the age of 22, Charlie McAvoy makes it look easy.