Defenseman Adam McQuaid has likely played his last game as a Boston Bruin. McQuaid was one of eight defensemen that the Boston Bruins exposed in the NHL Expansion Draft that will take place in Las Vegas Wednesday night when the NHL’s newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights draft their team. Colin Miller was the other notable name on the blue line made available and on Tuesday TSN Hockey scribe Frank Seravalli indicated that the Leafs and Golden Knights could be discussing a trade that would see Vegas select Miller in the expansion draft and then deal him away to the Maple Leafs for draft picks. But other than that trade chatter, talk across the league has been that the Golden Knights will select the gritty McQuaid, who has been a Bruin since the 2009-10 season and won a Stanley Cup with Boston the following season.
According to numerous NHL sources, Vegas GM George McPhee would like to have plenty of grit, character and leadership on the backend to go along with young, skilled players he hopes to select in the NHL Entry Draft or acquire via trades. NBC & TSN hockey analyst Pierre McGuire reiterated that to Murphy’s Hockey Law Tuesday.
“George has a great plan in place and part of that appears to be to not necessarily load up on all skill in the expansion draft but rather to build a solid foundation of leadership and grit on the backend,” McGuire said.
McQuaid definitely can help with that and given that he knows Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant well from their native Prince Edward Island, word out of Vegas is McQuaid will be patrolling the blue line for Vegas next season. The Bruins will definitely miss McQuaid, who over his years in Boston established himself as one of the key leaders in the dressing room and a policeman on the ice, always coming to the defense of his teammates as he did in this heavy weight bout with Matt Martin this past February.
The Bruins did protect 29-year old Kevan Miller who possess many of the same qualities and attributes as the 30-year old McQuaid, and he will now be depended on to step in and fill the leadership void left by McQuaid’s departure.
Ironically, as is the case so many times with enforcers, McQuaid is one of the nicest and most cerebral people this scribe has ever dealt with. Our post practice discussions on not just hockey but life, were one of my favorite things when I covered the Boston Bruins. It’s likely that former Bruins public relations guru Eric Tosi — who now directs the Vegas PR department — made McPhee and Gerard aware of that as well and let them know they would be getting a classy and character guy in McQuaid, should they draft him on Wednesday.