By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
A pair of red hockey pants undoubtedly stood out in a 31-player captains’ practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Wednesday.
Sticking out in an otherwise all-dark pants party (there’s gotta be a better way to say that), the red pants were not worn by free agent addition Par Lindholm. Or the big-bodied Brett Ritchie. Or even Alex Petrovic, who will join the Bruins on a pro tryout when camp opens next week. They instead belonged to and were worn by old friend Adam McQuaid.
Well, that’s something.
Or — and most likely — nothing at all.
The facts at play here: McQuaid still enjoys calling Boston home, meaning this familiar trek to Warrior wasn’t all that out of the way for the 32-year-old. This also was not a Bruins team function, meaning that players from all organizations were welcomed. You’ve seen this in the past with Matt Beleskey coming through for an informal skate a year ago, and Lee Stempniak being a regular at Boston-area skates over the last few years.
And McQuaid, who was traded out of Boston to New York and then to Columbus at the 2019 deadline, remains without an NHL contract. It hasn’t exactly been an easy summer for the 6-foot-4 defender, either, as he’s tried to recover from a concussion that put him on the shelf for the final five games of the regular season and all 10 postseason games.
As of right now, there’s confirmed to be absolutely nothing that connects McQuaid to the B’s. Not an offer. Not even a tryout agreement of sorts. This was simply an old friend dropping back in for a workout with some friends.
But it’s worth wondering if this situation could get interesting for the Bruins.
With restricted free agent defensemen Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy still unsigned, and with Johnny Moore (arm) and Kevan Miller (knee) expected to miss a large chunk of training camp, the Bruins could certainly use an extra body or two on the backend. Hell, that’s why Petrovic is here in the first place. And if McQuaid is healthy enough to play and compete at his level, and if we’re going off body of work to date, it’s hard for me to sit here and say that McQuaid isn’t a better option — in terms of skill-set, roster need, and familiarity with the Bruins’ system — than Petrovic.
If McQuaid gets a contract offer between now and then, it’s all meaningless, as he’d be crazy not to take a solidified offer over a tryout. But in the event that those offers do not come, a potential tryout with his former club could be the perfect opportunity to get him back into the swing of things physically and on the radar of teams around the league.
It could also provide the Bruins with a potentially solid insurance option in the seemingly unlikely event that the Carlo and McAvoy negotiations bleed into the regular season and leave the Bruins without much of any right-side help.
Now, the other question (and most important one) here is would McQuaid want to put himself in a Stempniak-esque situation where he has a tryout with the Bruins and then practices with the team on a rotating pro tryout agreement, simply hoping for the opportunity to come about? That might be almost too weird of a situation for McQuaid, who was the ultimate teammate and warrior for the Bruins over the course of his nine-year run in town, to put himself in.
But it beats sitting at home, which McQuaid confirmed with his decision to skate with the B’s on Wednesday.