Monday, July 26, 2010

Boston Bruins Prospect Series: #12 Adam McQuaid

Adam McQuaid, D
6-3, 210
October 12, 1986
Shoots: Right
Acquired from Columbus for a fifth-round selection (2007) in May, 2007
Signing status: Signed through 2012

Talent Analysis

Physical: Big and strong as an ox, McQuaid is the prototypical stay-at-home shutdown defender with some snarl. Still filling out his big frame and will play closer to 220-225 when all is said and done. Has a wide wingspan and uses it to try and keep forwards to the outside. Skating is average, with OK frontward (straight line) mobility, but below average ability to pivot and turn smoothly; he's continuing to work on that, but we've seen him susceptible to getting beaten wide with speed, or by smallish agile forwards who can exploit his footwork deficiencies. Positionally sound; keeps himself between the net and the puck and maintains his coverage well. Still working on gap control against the rush, but does a good job of keeping the middle of the ice and the front of his net clear. Relishes physical play and is an effective open ice hitter. Staples his man to the boards and doesn't let him loose; very difficult to beat along the wall. A good, solid fighter who will drop the gloves and handles himself well. He's a borderline heavyweight but a real force when fighting players more in his class, using his upper body strength and sizeable reach to good effect.

Intangibles: Eager and highly coachable, McQuaid worked hard in junior to earn a second-round draft grade (55th overall by the Blue Jackets in '05) out of the OHL's Sudbury Wolves, and then worked even more to address his skating shortcomings as a pro, showing marked improvement in each of his first three seasons after being acquired and signed by Boston. He's a good guy who leads by example and was an anchor in Providence for Rob Murray last season; his callups to Boston had a pretty detrimental effect on the Baby B's season, as he was a stabilizing force for the AHL club and even chipped in with some offense for the first time in his pro career. Disciplined player: doesn't take bad penalties or let emotions get the best of him. Had as many fights (3) as he did minor penalties last season with the B's, which speaks to his maturity and understanding that there's a time to sit in the box, and a time to play it smart and help your team. Some players of his type never get that, and drive their coaches nuts in the process.

Boston Bruins 2010 Development Camp assessment
Graduated from development status- did not attend; played 19 regular season games in Boston plus nine more in the 2010 postseason.

McQuaid is never going to be a first-pairing guy, but his upside may be as a solid, unspectacular No. 4 in time, which isn't a bad thing. Of course, some would argue that the fact that he was a late second-round pick means he should be more, but you're getting a physical, tough, defensive player who brings a mean streak and a willingness to defend his teammates. In other words, he's a player you win with. He proved he can handle the speed and skill of the NHL last season, and even if he doesn't win a job in Boston out of camp, he'll be the first guy they look to in the event of any injury. He's on a two-way deal this season, and that will become a one-way for the 2011-12 season, so expect him to split time between Providence and Boston this season.

“He’s maturing as a player. He showed a lot of compete, he’s close. I think he has a real chance to be a regular in that 5-6 pair and, then, who knows? That’s what we strive for in developing these guys.”- Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli via conference call; July 15, 2010

“Year after year Adam has improved (since turning pro) and there hasn’t been a drop-off. This year, he’s brought it up a level and is contributing offensively and is a plus-14. For him to post that kind of a stat after being out there every night against the other teams’ top lines speaks volumes for how far he’s come as an NHL prospect.”- Providence head coach Rob Murray to New England Hockey Journal; December, 2009

The Final Word
He's a meat-and-potatoes defender; what you see is what you get with him. But, he proved in his almost 30 NHL games (including the playoffs) that he can be effective at this level, even if it is more likely to happen as a third-pairing, hard-nosed Sean O'Donnell type of player. Some may not be happy that he's as high as #12 on the list, but here's the deal: it isn't always about the upside. Sometimes, you just have to take a step back and look at what a player brings to the table. McQuaid may be safe, but he was a good value for the B's (acquired for a fifth rounder) and has put in the work to develop himself into a legitimate option for this team. Because the B's have several defensemen under 6-feet, players like McQuaid are valuable even if it is in a limited capacity at a little under 11 minutes of ice time per game.

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