Well, I’m shocked.
It’s time for Adam McQuaid’s yearly injury, and this time it’s a thumb injury that will keep him out 6-8 weeks. Stanley Cup of Chowder did a great piece on McQuaid’s lenghy list of injuries that just never seems to end. McQuaid might be one tough hombre, but his body and his durability don’t seem to agree.
Frankly, this loss isn’t huge, and may actually benefit the Bruins. Claude Julien’s biggest problem as a head coach has been his reluctance to move on from his favorite guys when they’re just not that good anymore (Thornton, Campbell, Ference, and now McQuaid [note that I’m not including Chris Kelly here, because the desire to move on from Kelly is more on Chiarelli. Kelly is a fine player, so it’s not Claude’s fault for playing him a decent amount — he’s just not worth $3 million]). Adam McQuaid, with all of his injuries slowing him down, shouldn’t be the 5th defenseman (now 4th with Chara out) on a contender. At best, he should be the 6th, and he should be the guy willing to drop the gloves more than anyone else to boost his, now that enforcers are correctly dying out.
Here are the Bruins possession stats for the year. Look at McQuaid’s. While he is playing against barely above average competition and starting a little under 50% of his non-neutral zone shifts in the defensive zone, his corsi is barely average. What’s more, his corsirel is -9.0. The Bruins are significantly worse with him on the ice than off. Both Zach Trotman and Kevan Miller are putting up better numbers, Joe Morrow is pretty similar and obviously has a higher ceiling, and even Matt Bartkowski has performed better in his few games back in the lineup. I’d take all of them over McQuaid.
McQuaid is in the final year of his contract that pays him $1.56 million this year, which is more than a 6th-8th defenseman should get. That means that putting his salary on LTIR might actually save the Bruins some money.
With Chara still out, the Bruins are probably going to have Hamilton, Miller, and Krug on the right side defenseivly and Seidenberg, Morrow, and Bartkowski on the left. I’d rather put Trotman in for Morrow and put Krug back on the left, but I’m ok with this. It’s still early in the season, so it’s nice that just about everyone in the B’s defensive lineup minus Seidenberg still has room to improve (and maybe we can include Seids, since he is coming back from injury still), so these reps at this point in the season should be helpful.
Final point: McQuaid should not be brought back by the Bruins at any longer than a 1 year deal next summer, and maybe not at all. There are too many options defensively, and too many guys who need reps.