The Boston Bruins traded defenseman Adam McQuaid to the New York Rangers on Tuesday for defenseman Steve Kampfer, a 2019 fourth-round draft pick and a conditional 2019 seventh-round draft pick.
McQuad was one of the team’s longest-tenured players, making his debut for the Black and Gold in their 2010-11 Stanley Cup-winning season.
His departure opens the door for some of the younger Bruins defensemen, of which there are several, to earn more ice time during the upcoming 2018-19 campaign.
Here are the projected defense pairings with McQuad no longer in the fold:
Zdeno Chara–Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug–Brandon Carlo
John Moore/Matt Grzelcyk–Kevan Miller
Others in the mix: Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Cody Goloubef, Jeremy Lauzon, Mark Fayne
Carlo or McAvoy could play on the top pairing alongside Chara. Carlo suffered a season-ending injury in late March and didn’t play in Boston’s playoff run, and the B’s could choose to bring him back slowly early in the 2018-19 season and keep him away from the tough defensive assignments that Chara’s pairing takes on.
McAvoy has played very well with Chara, too, and he tied for fourth among rookie defensemen in scoring last season despite missing 19 games.
Krug and Carlo spent a lot of time together last season, 655:19 of even-strength time to be exact, per Natural Stat Trick. The Bruins drove 53 percent of 5-on-5 puck possession and outscored opponents 30-20 when the Krug-Carlo pairing was on the ice. So, it wouldn’t be surprising if this duo is reunited now that Carlo is healthy.
Grzelcyk and Miller is a classic offense/defense combo. Grzelcyk is a good skater and has an impressive all-around offensive skill set for even strength and the power play. Miller plays a more physical, stay-at-home style of defense, and is a valuable member of the penalty kill.
Veteran defenseman John Moore was signed to a five-year free agent contract in July and also should be in the mix for a top four/five role.
Recent first-round picks Urho Vaakanainen (2017) and Jakub Zboril (2015) also could factor into the mix. Reports on Vaakanainen from Finland have been strong, and he plays the type of smooth-skating, responsible brand of hockey that is perfectly suited for today’s NHL.
The Bruins have very good depth on the blue line, and could choose to dress seven defenseman throughout the season because of that. McQuaid’s departure opens the door for some of the younger players to impress the coaching staff and front office during training camp and the preseason. Now, it’s their job to seize those opportunities.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images