Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy smiled for all nine minutes and 40 seconds of his media availability Friday.
Making $76 million for the next eight years after this upcoming season will do that. But for the 23-year-old McAvoy, getting the eight-figure question out of the way ahead of the season, and staying where he’s always wanted to be, was just as important.
“I’ve wanted to be in Boston since the moment I’ve been here,” McAvoy said. “It’s just been a dream to come to BU and then to be able to stay here and thinking back of getting that opportunity in Ottawa [in 2017] just to get a chance to come in. And that laid the foundation. It’s just been such a dream to get to this point and everything I’ve ever wanted was to be here in Boston.
“I can’t believe it. I can’t be happier than I am right now.”
In what’s been the Year of the Defenseman, McAvoy didn’t stress about his upcoming payday, but he did want it to get done before the start of the season. Nobody wanted to play with a clouded mind or their focus on anything other than a Stanley Cup.
That was just as important to McAvoy as it was the Bruins, especially with McAvoy set to take on an even greater role in 2021-22, with top power-play quarterbacking duties and a potential extra letter on his sweater both on the table. Waiting could have hurt the Bruins, with a strong year and deep playoff run potentially bumping McAvoy up into the $10 million per year range.
But instead, both parties got what they wanted.
And that’s for the long haul — beyond the next nine years — if McAvoy has it his way.
“That was my goal and my vision,” McAvoy said of a Bergeron-like run in Boston. “My life, as of recent, is here in Boston. I moved here full-time. I’m here in the summer. I have my routines and it’s here year round barring going to see my family and sound weekends traveling. I live here and I love it here. I love the city, the people, the fans, everything. It’s home for me, and it’s where I feel I belong [and] where I want to be. It’s just a dream come true.”
“Now I get to do just what I love, and that’s play hockey.”
The Bruins want it to be that simple, too.
“Just go out and play [and] be the same Charlie McAvoy you’ve always been, keep getting better,” Cassidy said of the message to McAvoy with his new ‘big ticket’ deal. “That’s the only discussion I’ll probably have with Charlie at some point.”
A discussion that’ll happen in the city McAvoy prefers, which is ultimately all that matters for both he and the Bruins.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.