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Great news out of Boston earlier this week as Claude Julien confirmed that Dennis Seidenberg skated on Tuesday for the first time since December 27. He suffered an ACL and MCL injury against Ottowa and was immediately ruled out for the rest of the season.
It was a stunning blow to the Bruins “D” corps, who were tried and tested to fill the gap he left. The bottom line was this: they weren’t going to be able to get a defenseman at the trade deadline who can do what he does night in and night out for that cap hit. Instead, Julien stressed that the group as a whole would have to step up in his absence, and it’s worked out nicely. Johnny Boychuk has especially taken a bigger role with 44 gone and his great play hasn’t gone unnoticed by B’s fans.
It’s a pleasant surprise that Seidenberg has resumed skating and is ahead of schedule, but people shouldn’t put the horse before the carriage here. He suffered a serious injury and Julien has said he still has no timetable for his return. At best, it would be the Eastern Conference Finals, assuming the Bruins even make it there (of course they will.)
That said, if Seidenberg was ready to play in the third round, is it really the smart move? Torn ACL and MCL is nothing to scoff at and he could easily re-aggravate it. Bruins have to be thinking about the man’s health as well as their vision of the future. If the Bruins are playing well, it might not be smart to throw him back in the intensity of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a guy that hasn’t skated for four months. But what a huge asset that would be to have him back in beast mode alongside Chara.
One of the stranger stories of the Bruins season has been the enigma of Adam McQuaid. Listed at 6’5″, 209 pounds, this rugged blue-liner has been a fan favorite for a few years with his no-nonsense playing style, willingness to drop the gloves, and of course, his mullet.
“Quaider” went down January 19th with a quad strain and hasn’t returned. There hasn’t been much clarity or communication from Chiarelli or Julien regarding exactly where he stands, but that just probably speaks to the uncertainty of the injury itself. Adam is a very tough kid and I’m sure he wants to be back on the ice with his teammates.
In his absence, rookie call-up Kevan Miller has played very well in his role. Like McQuaid, he plays a simple game, brings a physical presence, has limited offensive contributions, but that’s fine from a 5/6th defenseman on your depth chart.
He’s playing so well, actually, that I honestly think Adam McQuaid will never suit up for the Black and Gold again. It pains me to say this, but hear me out.
At this point, I sincerely doubt McQuaid returns this season. He’s still not close to coming back and the playoffs are a week away. Seidenberg is a guy they might rush back because he’s an anchor for this team, but McQuaid isn’t. That’s the reality.
So, if he doesn’t come back, then they will probably move him in the off-season. It’s unfortunate that his value is really low due to his injury, but they might be able to move him for a pick or prospect. When healthy, he’s a very serviceable d-man and there are teams out there that would love to have him.
I do love McQuaid as a Bruin and would hate to see him go. But what does he really offer that Kevan Miller doesn’t do every night? In the end, it’s a business. McQuaid has a cap hit of $1.56 million, whereas Miller is on his rookie contract for 500k this year and 800k for the next two years after that. The Bruins have a chance to get younger, cheaper, and build for the future as well as the present.
You can actually trace the lineage of that big, stay-at-home, physical defenseman back several years. First it was Andrew Alberts, who was shipped off when Mark Stuart was ready to be that guy. Then Stuart became expendable when McQuaid emerged as an NHL-ready d-man. Now, with Kevan Miller in the mix, it’s time for the Bruins to part ways with Adam.