With the Bruins’ season in the books, WEEI.com will take a look at each player on the roster one-by-one to provide some perspective on what went wrong this season and what the future holds for the 2011 champions.
2011-12 stats: 72 games played (career-high), 2 goals, 8 assists, 10 points, plus-16
Contract status: Signed through 2014-15 season ($1.56 million cap hit)
Looking back: After starting the 2010-11 campaign as the Bruins’ seventh defenseman and earning a full-time job on the Bruins’ lineup, McQuaid entered his second full campaign with far more assurances of where he stood. He was entering the final year of his contract when the B’s locked him up with a three-year extension to keep him in Boston until at least 2015.
With his future with the team secured, McQuaid continued to serve as a third-pairing defenseman for the B’s in the 2011-12 season. He spent the vast majority of the season skating with Andrew Ference, making for a reliable third pairing that also had plenty of grit to it.
Though McQuaid played in five more games in 2011-12 than he did in the 2010-11 campaign, his fighting major total was actually half of what it was a year earlier. McQuaid finished the season with six fighting majors (he had 12 in 2010-11) and his seven total major penalties ranked him tied with Milan Lucic for third on the Bruins, behind Shawn Thornton (20) and Gregory Campbell (10). That seventh major penalty came when he kneed former OHL teammate Nick Foligno on Dec. 14 against the Senators. The play was certainly questionable and deserving of a look from Brendan Shanahan, but he was only fined $2,500 rather than being suspended.
In addition to missing the season-opener with an illness, McQuaid dealt with multiple head injuries during the season, as he missed three games with one and later saw a hit from Jason Chimera late in the season keep him out of the playoffs.
Looking ahead: McQuaid said he was “feeling like [himself] again” at the team’s breakup day following their first-round exit against the Capitals, so unless his concussion symptoms are severe, he should be able to make the necessary preparations in training camp on time for the B’s. If the symptoms continue and his offseason and/or training camp is disrupted, the Bruins will obviously have a bigger problem on their hands.
Assuming McQuaid is fully healthy and good to go next season, the Bruins know what they’re getting out the Prince Edward Island native. He won’t produce much at all offensively, but he plays his role well as a big, tough defenseman whose best asset is his careful play. If he sees a hit he doesn’t like or he feels he needs to swing momentum, he’s as willing a fighter as the B’s have.
With some turnover anticipated on the blue line (Joe Corvo, Mike Mottau and Greg Zanon are all unrestricted free agents and Dougie Hamilton should make the team out of camp), don’t expect McQuaid’s spot to be in jeopardy any time soon. Extending him at as low a cost as the Bruins did was yet another smart move for the blue line by Peter Chiarelli. He may have overpaid a bit on Johnny Boychuk‘s new deal, but give the GM credit for the value he’s been able to get out of both McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg (four years, $13 million after the 2009-10 season).