ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo on June 24-25. Charlie McAvoy is the No. 6-ranked North American skater in the NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings. The Avalanche has the 10th overall selection at the draft.
A strong defenseman with an offensive touch, Charlie McAvoy is NHL Central Scouting’s No. 6-ranked North American skater, placing him as the highest rated draft-eligible college player and third among defensemen.
Prior to entering his 2015-16 freshman season with Boston University, Terriers coach David Quinn told GoTerriers.com: “Charlie has been an elite player for a long time. We expect him to make an immediate impact and play in all situations. He's got great skills and vision and he's a big, strong kid that skates well. One of the top freshman defensemen in college hockey."
McAvoy, standing at 6-foot-1, 211-pounds, quickly emerged as one of the team’s top four D-men. In 37 games, he led all BU defenders with 25 points (three goals and 22 assists), held a rating of plus-10 and had 56 penalty minutes.
On March 7, he was recognized as the Hockey East Rookie of the Week and was later among just six players named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team.
Beyond his strong presence on the blue line, McAvoy is noted for his offensive capabilities. Of his three goals this season, two of them were game-winners. He also registered four assists in a single game on March 5 in the Hockey East Tournament’s opening round against UMass. McAvoy also excels on the power play, with 8 of his 22 assists coming from the man advantage.
"Whenever you can contribute as that fourth guy coming into the offensive zone is always a bonus," McAvoy told NHL.com.
After BU’s fourth-place finish in the Hockey East, the Terriers’ season ended after a first-round NCAA playoff exit at the hands of the University of Denver. McAvoy recorded an assist in the team’s 7-2 loss.
Before his impressive freshman campaign with BU, McAvoy spent two years (2013-15) with the U.S. National Team Development Program. Most recently, with the Under-18 squad, he skated in 63 games and contributed 40 points (seven goals, 33 assists).
"Charlie has been on the NHL scouts' radar for the past two seasons," director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr noted. "As one of the youngest defenseman with the USNTDP, he was a strong contributor every game and was expected to step right into a big role at Boston University."
The 18-year-old helped to lead the U.S. Men’s National Team to a gold-medal finish in the 2015 IIHF Under-18 World Championship with four assists in seven contests. In 2016, he took the ice for the U.S. in all seven games of their bronze-medal campaign in the IIHF World Junior Championship.
"I think the biggest thing I learned at the NTDP was gap control," McAvoy reflected. "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."
Hockey has played a significant role in the Long Beach, New York, native’s life for a long time.
"My dad played hockey until he was about 15 years old, but my grandpa couldn't afford to help him continue in the sport," McAvoy said. "My dad had me on skates when I was 4 and he's supported me so much."
"I'm from a city that isn't known as a hockey hotbed," McAvoy remarked. "But the thing is there have been a lot of guys from Long Island having success and reaching the NHL. We've had a good little run of late."
He hopes to extend that run at the upcoming 2016 NHL Draft in June.