The Boston Bruins were never going to begin the season with eight NHL-quality defensemen on their roster.
Even with Boston's recent defensive injury woes in postseason play -- they went 10 bodies deep in their 2017 round one loss to the Senators and lost their second pairing of Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo before and/or during the postseason in 2018 -- that should have been obvious.
It was a luxury, but one that was neither sustainable nor something the Bruins could legitimately afford in 2018-19. After all, this is the team that chose to waive and later trade (and eat half the remaining salary of) Matt Beleskey last season because they didn't feel like burning $3.8 million in the press box on a nightly basis.
Which is why the timing of Tuesday's trade that sent McQuaid to the New York Rangers in exchange for Steven Kampfer and two draft selections -- one that gives McQuaid a fresh start before N.Y. camp -- could not have come at a better time for all.
Especially the Bruins.
"Going into the year, we had eight defensemen, six would play," Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy acknowledged Tuesday. "So it wasn’t automatic that Adam would be one of the two out, but if it were to work out that way, it would have been difficult."
Of course, it was not automatic that McQuaid would have been one of the frequently scratched d-men. But it was probably likely. The B's weren't scratching top-pairing defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and Brandon Carlo remains a steady penalty-killing presence and his game's growth is still very much worth the investment. Kevan Miller's emergence as a versatile three-zone threat is something the Bruins would not rob themselves of, either, especially when he's able to thrive in a third-pairing role.
So, barring an injury, McQuaid was back to eating press box popcorn and waiting for an injury to a teammate to strike. Selfless team-first guy or not, that's uncomfortable.
And given the fact that McQuaid was entering a contract year, getting Paul Postma'd to the ninth floor could have led the Bruins and McQuaid to a frustrating relationship similar to the Penguins and Ian Cole last year where the player almost wants to be moved for the sake of his own career moving forward. Given McQuaid's contributions to the franchise over the last 10 years, that kind of treatment would have been hard to justify, too.
It would have been an incredibly uncomfortable situation for all involved, and even Bruins general manager Don Sweeney knew it.
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What's your favorite McQuaid moment?
You would literally never know this, but Adam McQuaid was an incredibly shy, quiet, and reserved guy off the ice. I suppose that would make sense, as it's always the quietest person that can inflict the most damage on somebody when the talkin' gets to be a bit too much.
But over the course of a near-decade in town, it was McQuaid's rough-and-tumble on-ice contributions as the epitome of Bruins Hockey that endeared him to the Garden Faithful.
If we're looking for his best fight, I'll certainly come back to that heavyweight bout between he and then-Maple Leafs forward Matt Martin. That was just bomb after bomb. But for best moment, it has to be when McQuaid scored the series-deciding goal in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The shock and awe on the B's bench was amazing, and truly defined that year's team, as they routinely beat the odds in the East.
I did my best to sort them out right here...
Ty Anderson is a digital content producer for 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. You can even hear him on the radio over there sometimes! Ty has been covering the National Hockey League for HockeyBuzz.com since 2010. Ty has also been part of the Boston Chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Contact him on Twitter or send him an email at Ty.AndersonHB[at]gmail.com.