Charlie McAvoy has no doubt been impressive for a 20-year-old rookie. But the defenseman could stand to shoot the puck more when opportunities present themselves, and shoot more accurately and efficiently. He’s done so in the past two games, and it’s certainly paying off now.
McAvoy averaged about 0.88 shot attempts per minute of ice time in his first 57 games of the 2017-18 season. By comparison, winger David Pastrnak averaged about 1.05. Obviously Pastrnak is inevitably going to fire the puck much more often than McAvoy, but the rookie blue liner has flashed his offensive creativity and taken his own chances at times this season. Just not quite as often as you’d like to see for a player with his upside.
He made only three shot attempts on Tuesday night against the Hurricanes, but they all hit the net. And obviously, the most important one went in. McAvoy has literally doubled his shot-on-goal efficiency, with 14 shots on goal in his last seven games after shooting 14 in his previous 14.
Hopefully, McAvoy can continue to build momentum now that he’s scored in two straight games after going 25 games without lighting the lamp. Speaking on the team’s recent power play struggles, the rookie was particularly hard on himself for his recent play despite netting the game-winner.
“I Want To Make Better Plays”
“My unit especially, I want to make better plays, I don’t feel like I’m making the best plays that I could,” McAvoy told reporters after the game. “We want to have success, we’re gripping the stick and it’s frustrating but we know that when we’re playing simple and we’re making plays, strong, high percentage plays, that we score goals.
“I mean we have seen it all year long so we got to get back to simple plays on our power play and we’ll have success. It’s a work in progress but we’ll be fine though.”
McAvoy sure looked fine on the game-winning play in 3-on-3 overtime. Riley Nash got the play started with a strong forecheck in the corner and tap-pass to McAvoy, who took the puck nearly the length of the ice and wisely decided to shoot.
“I Just Kind Of Read It”
In prior games, McAvoy may have decided to pass the puck off to Brad Marchand. It would’ve been ill-advised to do it this time, and he recognized that in the moment.
“See that we had a 2-on-1 if we just hurried up and it looked like he was taking away Marchy [Brad Marchand], I was looking pass a little bit, trying to look that off,” said McAvoy. “I kind of just read it and I thought I needed to get it off quick and was fortunate enough to see it go in.”
McAvoy has apparently been mindful of his shot selection and efficiency with the puck lately. It’s clearly showing up on the score sheet. If the rookie can continue to find the back of the net in the final stretch, he’d add another dimension to what’s become one of the league’s most dangerous teams.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.