Bruins Change Roster Complexion With McQuaid Trade

The Boston Bruins have decided to move one of their eight NHL defenders, shipping Adam McQuaid to the New York Rangers in exchange for defender Steven Kampfer, a 2019 fourth-round pick and a conditional seventh-round selection. The move comes as a bit of a surprise on the first day of Bruins camp. McQuaid has been with the B’s since the 2009-10 season when he suited up for 19 games.

He won a Stanley Cup in 2011 with Boston and was a key part of the 2013 team that advanced to the Cup Final before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks. McQuaid was a cult hero in Boston, becoming a fan favorite thanks to his physical style, willingness to fight and his blue-collar mentality. He fit right in with this hard-working city. He’s also a great guy and very easy to root for. He’ll be missed.

That said, hockey is a business and the right business move here was to deal the veteran.

Benefits of the McQuaid Trade

In the cap era, trades have taken on new meaning. Teams often deal players for spare parts and future assets in order to shed salary. In part, that’s what happened with McQuaid. The Bruins are now off the hook for the final year of his contract, worth $2.75 million per season and $2.1 million in increased cap space for the B’s for the upcoming season. Boston now has $5,059,333 to work with moving forward.

Steven Kampfer
Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) and Florida Panthers defenseman Steven Kampfer (3) battle for the puck in the first period at Joe Louis Arena. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bruins could use that space too. The club has forwards Lee Stempniak and Daniel Winnik in training camp and both could earn contracts between now and opening night. Not only that, but Boston could be in the market for a winger if some of the young players don’t step up. I don’t think that management is thrilled with its current group after losing Rick Nash this summer. Speaking of Nash, don’t forget about the unsigned UFA. If he decides to return to the NHL this season, the Bruins should be near the top of his list.

The Bruins have opened up some cap space here and will enter training camp with enough flexibility to become a factor should a player shake free. It will also make in-season transactions much easier for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.

He’s no All-Star, but Kampfer isn’t a bad player. He’s making just $650,000 per season and can be stashed in the AHL at no cost to the club. That’s probably what will happen as the Bruins have seven defenders and 14 forwards for opening night now. Kampfer will provide veteran leadership in Providence, one of the best teams in the American League. He is also a solid depth option and would provide the big league Bruins with a decent call-up should injuries hit.

Impact on Bruins’ Camp

Mark Fayne has life now, folks. With McQuaid out of the picture, the Bruins lose some of the depth that I believe is so valuable. Although Kampfer will help in this regard, the Bruins would benefit from adding another veteran. I think Fayne is a fine option and would come cheap. Not only that but I’m fairly certain management could stash him in Providence if need be and allow him to play a similar role to Paul Postma’s a year ago.

Mark Fayne
Edmonton Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens (30) keeps an eye on the puck with Columbus Blue Jackets left winger Nick Foligno (71) and Oiler defenceman Mark Fayne (5) looking on. (Credit: Walter Tychnowicz- USA TODAY Sports)

Earlier this month, I predicted the Bruins’ roster as part of my training camp preview. Here are the line combinations I came up with:

David Pastrnak – Patrice Bergeron – Brad Marchand
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Danton Heinen
Andres Bjork – Ryan Donato – David Backes
Sean Kuraly – Joakim Nordstrom – Chris Wagner
Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
John Moore – Kevan Miller
Adam McQuaid and Matt Grzelcyk

Tuukka Rask
Jaroslav Halak

Without McQuaid, the Bruins’ defense looks like this: Chara, McAvoy, Krug, Carlo, Moore, Miller and Grzelcyk. Fayne will have an outside chance of making the team, while Kampfer probably gets a look as well. With only seven defenders likely making the team, that opens up a 14th forward spot. Winnik and Stempniak both could land that role or someone like Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson could emerge from the P-Bruins.

The McQuaid trade has changed the complexion of the team’s roster and the pending training camp battles. New players now have an opportunity and the team has the flexibility to find a player in the market. A popular player might be gone but I think the Bruins won the day today.