BOSTON -- Defenseman Charlie McAvoy will forgo his remaining eligibility at Boston University and sign an amateur tryout contract with the Boston Bruins, general manager Don Sweeney announced Wednesday.
The Bruins selected McAvoy, who completed his sophomore season at BU, with the No. 14 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. He will report to Providence of the American Hockey League for practice on Thursday and should play in games this weekend.
"His development's been very good," Sweeney said. "He's been relied upon heavily as a younger player there. Grew into a leadership role this year. Obviously had a tremendous World Junior and a gold-medal effort. Their team overall was very, very talented but very young. You go through some growing pains as a result of that but he played in a lot of different situations and we're excited about his trajectory."
There's a chance McAvoy could join the Bruins before the end of the season. Boston (40-30-6) is three points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with six games remaining.
"That is still to be determined," said Sweeney, who is continuing negotiations with McAvoy's representatives while the 19-year-old gets his pro career started in the AHL. "You have to have a contract first, and again this is just a good first step for everybody,"
Video: Bruins draft D Charles McAvoy No. 14
Sweeney had no doubt, however, about McAvoy's ability to advance from college to the NHL.
"He has the attributes to be able to play an NHL game right now, absolutely," Sweeney said.
McAvoy had 26 points (five goals, 21 assists) in 38 games and was named a Hockey East All-Star for the Terriers, who lost 3-2 in overtime to Minnesota Duluth in the NCAA West Regional final Saturday.
The Bruins will have to weigh the value of working a rookie into their lineup while they attempt to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, and completing a year on McAvoy's entry-level contract, against what McAvoy could add to the lineup.
"I don't know if that would necessarily happen either. That's putting the cart before the horse a little bit," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "But if we're going to play that game, he would have to figure out what works at this level and what doesn't just like he's going to have to figure it out when he goes to Providence. So it would be a lot of the same just against better players in the end. But I don't want to get too far in front of it.
"We've used seven defensemen here over the last eight weeks, they've done a good job for us. So we'd have to see where he fits and go from there."
Sweeney said that BU sophomore forward Jakob Forsbaka-Karlsson, a second-round pick (No. 45) in the 2015 draft, has not made a decision about leaving school yet.