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Charlie McAvoy is the only Boston Bruins player without a goal yet this season. Why can’t McAvoy find the back of the net?
Charlie McAvoy started this season with sky-high expectations for the Boston Bruins. He was clearly the team’s best all-around defenseman, and consequently some people pegged him as an early Norris Trophy favorite.
Now, 23 games into the regular season, we all still wait for McAvoy to reach his peak, at least when it comes to his offense.
McAvoy is the only Bruins player without a goal this season. Everybody else, including fourth liners and bottom-pair defenders, scored at least one goal.
That’s not to say McAvoy hasn’t had many chances. In fact, he’s had a number of good looks, but he can’t snag his first.
All these chances seemed to culminate Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild when the Bruins had the ultra-rare three-on-zero opportunity. That’s right, three Bruins players with only the goalie to beat.
Brad Marchand skated down the left wing and then dished a pass to McAvoy out front. It looked like McAvoy had an easy one-time goal, but Wild goalie Alex Stalock somehow made the save.
After this denial, McAvoy had a couple more chances that all came up short. He finished with two shots on goal and a few that missed the net.
The game against the Wild pretty much sums up McAvoy’s season so far on the offensive front. Even when he has an straightforward opportunity, he can’t seem to score.
As the old saying goes, McAvoy can’t buy a goal right now.
Why doesn’t McAvoy have a goal yet this year? Honestly, a lot of it is puck luck.
McAvoy now has 25 shots and over 50 attempts without a goal. Based on his shooting percentage over the past two years, we’d expect him to have two or three goals. Instead, he has zero.
We have to consider McAvoy’s place in the lineup as well. Alongside Zdeno Chara, McAvoy faces tough matchups at even strength every night. We can’t expect him to score a lot when he consistently goes against top forwards.
That’s why McAvoy, even without a goal, still makes a big difference for the Bruins. He can negate opposing attacks, as we saw when he matched up against Alex Ovechkin last weekend.
Also, one last thing: think about McAvoy’s role on the power play. Torey Krug‘s presence in the lineup means that McAvoy plays on the second unit. He therefore doesn’t see a ton of power play time, and when he does, it isn’t with Boston’s best forwards.
McAvoy isn’t exactly a premier scorer from the blueline. He only had seven goals each of the last two seasons. He’s more of an all-around, two-way defender who goes out there to stop opposing attacks.
That said, McAvoy clearly has the skills to put up more points. Expect him to turn things around soon. He’s too good not to.