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The Bruins did not hang ten on Charlie McAvoy, but both sides were pleased with the contract that washed ashore.

The rising star defenseman, who grew up surfing the waves off Long Island, N.Y., signed an eight-year, $76 million extension on the eve of Saturday’s season opener against Dallas. He arrived at Warrior Ice Arena on Friday to stick-taps and hugs from his teammates, and was smiling throughout a post-practice chat with reporters.

McAvoy, 23, will earn an average of $9.5 million annually from 2022 through 2030. He could have signed a shorter deal, and potentially earned more by hitting unrestricted free agency in 2024. But his vision and goal, he said, is to play his entire career with the franchise that drafted him (14th overall) out of Boston University in 2016.


“My life is here in Boston,” said McAvoy, who recently purchased a place in the Seaport and lives there year-round. “I love it here. I love the city, I love the people, the fans, everything. It’s home for me. I feel like it’s where I belong.”

In total dollars and average annual value, McAvoy signed richest deal in team history, surpassing former teammates Zdeno Chara ($7.5 million), David Krejci ($7.25 million), Tuukka Rask ($7 million) and Patrice Bergeron, whose $6.875 million ticket (eight years, $55 million) expires next summer.

Per figures on CapFriendly, Chara earned a massive 17.05 percent of the salary cap when he arrived here in 2006, Bruins management going on an unprecedented spending spree to resurrect the floundering franchise. McAvoy’s is second-largest by slice of pie: 11.66 percent of the $81.5 million salary cap. Chara’s second Boston contract, signed in 2010, cost 11.64 percent of Boston’s cap.

The only other Bruins to exceed 10 percent of the cap were Rask (10.89 percent, signed in 2013), Bergeron (10.69 percent, 2013) and Krejci (10.51 percent, 2014).


Charlie McAvoy will turn 24 in December.
Charlie McAvoy will turn 24 in December.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

McAvoy’s extension follows the trend of NHL teams offering long-term deals for young defensemen. In recent months, six blueliners have signed for AAVs between $8.45 million (Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen, age 22) and $9.583 million (Columbus’ Zach Werenski, 24).

McAvoy’s deal mirrors the deal the Blackhawks handed Seth Jones last summer. It is slightly less than Werenski’s six-year, $57.5 million deal with the Blue Jackets, which was the largest of last offseason.

When the two held separate Zoom calls Wednesday, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney downplayed talk from team president Cam Neely that the sides were close. That falls in line with what agent Michael Curran told the Globe in late August. “It’s all about focusing on this season,” Curran said. “With everything that’s happened” — the blueline megabucks — “he wants to go out this year and have a really good season, focus on what he can do from the team, and really solidify himself as a top D-man in the league. That’s really our stance.”

In a message Friday, Curran said McAvoy’s satisfaction with his situation overrode the temptation to earn maximum dollars on the open market. If he signed after the season, perhaps while placing a Norris Trophy on his mantle, he could have made eight figures. Getting the deal done now offers McAvoy relief and renewed focus.

“He wanted to stay a Bruin,” Curran said.

McAvoy was fifth in the Norris Trophy voting for the NHL’s best defenseman last year. He is the cornerstone of one of the league’s best defenses (the Bruins were fourth in goals allowed last season). In a time of transition for the franchise, McAvoy has become one of its most important players. For the first time this season, he’ll run the Bruins’ dangerous No. 1 power play unit. He’ll be a valued penalty killer and final-minutes closer.


McAvoy said he doesn’t want to “put the world on my shoulders,” and coach Bruce Cassidy said he won’t have to. He’ll be part of the leadership group, led by captain Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, with support from Brandon Carlo, Nick Foligno (the former Columbus captain), Charlie Coyle, David Pastrnak and Matt Grzelcyk. Taylor Hall, who signed a four-year, $24 million extension last summer, is assimilating into that group.

Charlie McAvoy was a first-round pick out of Boston University in 2016.
Charlie McAvoy was a first-round pick out of Boston University in 2016.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

“He’s part of the core now and going forward,” Cassidy said of McAvoy. “He works hard. He’s trying to get better. He’s growing into more of a leader. This helps him in that regard.”

“Great draft choice. Good development. He followed those guys’ leadership in the room . . . Hopefully he has one of those generational careers.”

To the latter point, he was referring to Ray Bourque, Chara, Bobby Orr — great Bruins defensemen of the past.

It was a memorable day for McAvoy and his family. That includes Otto, his French bulldog, who was due for a treat after practice.

“I might go get my dog a handful of bones,” McAvoy said.


Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.