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Neely: Bruins Won't Necessarily Play Charlie McAvoy In NHL This Season

BOSTON (CBS) -- Ever since the Boston Bruins signed defenseman Charlie McAvoy out of Boston University to an amateur tryout, there's been much speculation regarding exactly how the team planned to use him. If McAvoy plays so much as one game at the NHL level, it will burn a year off his entry-level contract.

But Thursday on Felger & Massarotti, Bruins president Cam Neely made the situation clear: The Bruins don't intend to play McAvoy in the NHL this season.

"No, that's not accurate," Neely said when asked if playing McAvoy in the NHL this season was part of the agreement with the player before signing. "[Bruins general manager Don Sweeney] has had a number of conversations with the player and the agent about what we feel is going to be best for his development. And then we said if we feel there is an opportunity where he can help us and we need him, then that's a different story."

Neely said that the development of a young defenseman into an NHL-ready player is not something that can happen overnight.

"We look at how [Zach] Werenski in Columbus, how he went to the minors, and the year that he's having this year instead of jumping right into the NHL. The defensive position at the NHL level is a strong learning curve. He's got all kinds of skill; we know the skill he has. We just need a little bit more structure."

Neely also expressed some high hopes for forward Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, who unlike McAvoy is with the NHL club.

"We also feel like he could help us. He's a strong two-way centerman, probably more NHL-ready [than McAvoy]," Neely said. "So we felt if there's a situation for us to plug him in the lineup. He could help us."

Neely said the team is still waiting for Forsbacka Karlsson to resolve his visa issues before he can play.

"Hopefully we'll hear something today," Neely said. "That's what we're hoping on."

Listen to the full interview below:

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