Boston Gambled and Lost on Adam McQuaid

Author Hunter S. Thompson once said about gambling, “There are many harsh lessons to be learned from the gambling experience, but the harshest one of all is the difference between having fun and being smart.”

Well, the Boston Bruins gambled when they traded Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders and decided to keep Adam McQuaid instead. With that trade, the Boston Bruins learned the difference between having fun and being smart.

The Bruins defensive corps, once very deep, has been cursed by the Injury Ninja this season as Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, David Warsofsky, and now Adam McQuaid have all been stricken with injuries this season. The Boston Bruins needed to trade at least one defenseman before the season began and it was apparent that the odd man out would either be Johnny Boychuk or Adam McQuaid. Boston opted to keep the less expensive, but injury prone, McQuaid, and, so far, it looked like a bad decision on Peter Chiarelli’s part.

First of all, I was against keeping McQuaid over Boychuk to begin with. Adam McQuaid is a talented player… when healthy. Here is a list of all the injuries that McQuaid has suffered since 2010,

  • Leg injury (2010)
  • Concussion (2011)
  • Neck Sprain (2011)
  • Another concussion (2012)
  • Eye Injury (2012)
  • Upper body injury (2012)
  • Sprained shoulder (2013)
  • Injured his other shoulder (2013)
  • Blood clot (2013)
  • Core injury (2014)
  • Ankle surgery (2014)
  • Torn quad (2014)
  • Broken thumb (2014)

Not including a minor illness and an undisclosed injury, McQuaid has suffered thirteen injuries since 2010. THIRTEEN! I know hockey players get banged up a lot during a long and grueling season, but missing time due to thirteen separate injuries is excessive. McQuaid is a tough kid with a lot of talent, but he can’t stay off the injured list and that is hurting the Bruins. Granted, Boychuk has been hurt of couple times this season for the Islanders, but it was nothing too major and he is not on the current Islanders injured list.

(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Johnny Boychuk has been outplaying Adam McQuaid on the ice to make matters even worse. In 17 games with the Islanders this season, Boychuk has recorded 12 points and has been a big part on the Islanders’ early season success. On the other hand, McQuaid, in 20 games, has only recorded two points as the Bruins continue to struggle with their patchwork defense. With the Bruins relying on defensemen like Joe Morrow and the inconsistent Matt Bartkowski, the Bruins could really use Boychuk right now.

Perhaps the trade would have been good if the Bruins received a good haul in return. Maybe a prospect or an NHL ready player, but, instead the Bruins dealt Johnny Boychuk to the Islanders for a second and a conditional third round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a second round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Kind of ho hum. I know the Bruins needed to shed salary and free up a roster slot, but it seems as if the Islanders won this trade. The picks could indeed turn into star players of the future for the Bruins, after all Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand were second and third round picks respectively.

The Bruins gambled and lost by keeping Adam McQuaid in the Hub. While Johnny Boychuk is thriving on Long Island, Adam McQuaid is nursing his broken thumb that will keep him out for up to eight weeks and yet another trip on the injured list.

The Bruins are piecing together their blue line while the Islanders have theirs intact and it’s all because of one little trade in early October.


11 thoughts on “Boston Gambled and Lost on Adam McQuaid”

  1. Wow, don’t even know where to start with the errors factually and in judgement in this piece. Trading McQuaid was really not an option compared to Boychuk, with the cap situation. They would have had to trade Quaider AND someone else with a big contract.

    You say it would have been nice to get a prospect for Boychuk. Well what the hell do you call two 2nds and a 3rd? That is an EXCELLENT return and given the Bruins’ drafting track record, it will likely turn into at least two good prospects.

    Yes, Quaider has a lot of injuries from his tough style of play (ironically, as a good buddy of his in high school, he wouldn’t hurt a fly off the ice. A gentle giant when he’s not playing). But he might just be the Bruins’ most reliable defenceman right now.

    To go apeshit over Boychuk playing better right now, well, of course he is. Boychuk has always been the better defenceman. Were you expecting Quaider to suddenly morph into an offensive threat with him gone?

  2. Kind of dumb premise. It seems clear from the cheap seats that Boychuck was traded for salary cap reasons. Trading McQuaid would not have put a dent in that.

  3. You just wrote an article about the Bruins injury issues on the blueline and you didn’t mention Kevan Miller. When I saw that omission in the 3rd paragraph, I wanted to stop reading but I continued because I needed to see if you mentioned him further down. Nope. I live in London, England and I’m more in touch with the team than you are. C’mon! Miller is a beast and he was a one of the reason PC felt comfortable moving JB. They play very similar styles.

    In fact, I think that while the Bruins Dmen are stressed right now, it speaks to the strength that PC was drawing from when he decided to move JB. How many teams could lose a top-4 Dman, their team captain, and a few other blueliners from their starting lineup, and still be sitting at 24 points? That speaks to the defensive depth, and it proves that PC was right! Not that he was wrong.

    It takes balls to be a GM in any league, but it’s the ones that understand depth and aren’t afraid of moving good players for the sake of the team, that usually succeed. Just taking a page out of Belichick’s book. They can actually add talent at the deadline this year! That’s when we’ll really be able to evaluate this JB trade.

    Even with all of that, thanks for writing about the Bruins and hockey in general. The other 3 sports are wildly over covered, and the NHL needs more love!

  4. Trading Mcquaid over boychuk wouldnt even had made a dent in their salary cap problem, and thus far as far as a DEFENSEMAN goes, Mcquaid has been the best they have guarding that net this season! check your stats, most of the goals given up were while Hamilton and/or seidenberg were on the ice!!! Mcquaid is underrated, yes because he has had a lot of injuries, but he came back this year at 100%, and i see NO reason to knock him, or kick the dirt because you didnt trade him away, and not to mention his partner on the ice is a ROOKIE! His broken thumb was a freak SMALL injury, because he was doing what he does best and what he is supposed to be doing, guarding the net!! Mcquaid is only 28 and lets face it chara is not gonna be around forever, and mcquaid is the next best in defense and feared Dman on this team.. he is more valuable than ppl give him credit for.. so what he doesnt (or hasnt yet)score tons of goals, i would gladly take away hamiltons few goals if he would play better D and not be the TOP Dman on the ice when goals are given up!!! he is the same size as Mcquaid, and actually 10 lbs heavier, NO reason for him not to be tossing bodies from in front of the net to prevent goals!! Leave Mcquaid alone, he is just fine… yeah, we gotta keep our fingers crossed, that this will be his only injury this year, and if it is, Lucky bruins, especially heading into the playoff where his defense will make a HUGE difference.

  5. Who is to say they didn’t make the decision to trade Boychuck over Seidenberg? This article is really poor. Johnny has more points in fewer games than McQuaid? I’m shocked, SHOCKED. Especially since McQuaid is not a scoring defenseman to begin with and, even if here were, the article doesn’t even begin to take into account the fact that Boychuck plays big minutes on the PP with the Islanders. I could go on and on, but if you boil this article down to its essence it comes down to this: Bruins were stupid to Boychuck because they SHOULD HAVE KNOWN 2/3 of their blueliners would go down with injuries. Yeah, RIGHT!

    Now, if you want to write an article about why they haven’t tried to get something for Bartkowski before this year, then you might have something.

  6. It’s 20/20 you know…also easy to write an article after the fact then to make a decision that impacts so much and so many.

  7. Don’t forget Kevan Miller. Doesn’t appear that much research went into this article. Boychuck was traded because he was a moveable piece. Hamilton and Krug were restricted and needed more money than last year. Having Siedenberg,Hamilton,Krug, Chara and Miller was a very repectable defensive corps. Just hasn’t worked out in their favor as of yet.

    • Thank you Sean!! This article makes way to many assumptions. Seidenberg and McQuaid and Kelly were all people they may have wanted to MOVE, but who is taking anyone just coming off injury. What would the Bruins received for McQuaid???? an 8th round pick????? I am sure if Charelli could have moved McQuaid over Boychuk – it would have happened!

  8. 54 makes 50% less than 55 does this year and 55 is going to need a 4-5 yr deal next year at $4+M per. They moved him to free up space and for the money 54 was playing well this year. I’ll grant you 54 has been hurt a lot but he went down this time blocking a shot. You are way off base. They should have moved a forward because the net cap replacement value vs drop off in talent would have been a much better return. Trading 55 was a huge mistake…you are right about that. Saying that 54 wasn’t playing up to his pay this year or it is anything other than bad luck he broke his thumb blocking a shot….is stupid

  9. Mark, you mention that Boychuk has experienced injuries this year also. For 2 weeks now he has been nursing a bad left knee. He has missed time and we do not know the extent his knee injury. Knees are very important in hockey. He may not be on the list as we type, but wait a week and see.
    On the other hand, was it not a puck that struck McQuaids hand and broke his thumb? They call that bad luck. You do say part of this move was based on salary, a large part of it was and the fact he will be looking for more when his contract is up at the end of this year. He was the only D man that would bring anything back in a trade (of those the Bruins would trade.) This was about business, and the future. I guarantee you that if the NHL did not have a salary cap (especially one that is predicted to drop) Johnny Boychuk would still be a Bruin.

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