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How the Boston Bruins Can Sign RFAs Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo

Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo celebrate a goal.

The Boston Bruins are ready to compete and they want to win now. It has been a relatively quiet offseason for them since they lost to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo were core pieces of the team’s stout defence. But there is one problem for Boston. Both of the young defencemen remain unsigned restricted free agents. This team is tight on cap space, having about $7.25 million left before they go over the limit. With training camp approaching quickly, here is the best way to get both players signed.

How the Bruins Can Sign Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo

The Boston Bruins, like many teams, are not free of bad contracts. In this case, said contract belongs to David Backes. The 35-year-old forward put up 20 points in 70 games with Boston this past season and has two years left on his contract at $6 million per year. While he has played a valuable leadership role with many of the young players on the team, that is something that stronger players like Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron can also provide. It is also worth noting that Backes was a healthy scratch for many of Boston’s playoff games last season.

Backes is the key to freeing up cap space for Boston. He does have a no-movement clause with the team, but this year it goes from being an eight-team trade list to a 15-team list, effectively expanding the Bruins trading options. If Boston can find a suitor who would be willing to take on Backes’ hefty contract, they should package him and a high-end draft pick to that team, in exchange for a late-round pick. This would nearly double the cap space available to Boston. If we assume that McAvoy is looking for a contract in the $7-8 million per year range and Carlo wants around $4 million per year, they should have the space to sign both players.

In the End

Getting Carlo and McAvoy signed is crucial to this franchise. Carlo is only 22 and McAvoy is 21. They will be the team’s leaders for a long time, as captain Chara is nearing retirement. McAvoy is an excellent two-way defender. He put up 14 goals and 46 assists in his 117 career games. McAvoy is also exempt from any offer sheets, a result of not playing enough in his career thus far. Carlo, on the other hand, brings a physical presence to the defencive end, standing 6’5”. He is not great offencively, however, with a mere 32 points in his 230 career games. The two young stars have more developing to do, but if they remain in Boston, the future of the defence is bright.

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