If you told me by this time last year that Adam McQuaid would have one of the better years on Boston’s defense I would have told you to watch the games, nerd, because his eye test was hideous last year.
Up until this year, he was far and away the worst defender Boston had and one of their worst at keeping Rask protected, sometimes actively falling on him or throwing players into him as a point of strategy. He had (and still has at times) an infuriating inability to recognize plays being made around the net and look like his controller disconnected in goals scored against him. His possession metrics were usually bottoming out yearly for Boston.
Up. Until. This year.
Now? Adam McQuaid is...good?
I won’t go so far as to say he’s great, because his propensity for braindead passes and inconsistent puck management could still occasionally surface, but all things considered...he actually had a pretty good year. He was third among defenseman in CF% and well over 50% for the first time in a very...very long time. For him to be third overall on defense is something truly incredible.
How’d he do it? Well, hockey is a team sport, and on defense half of how you play is who you’re paired with, and Torey Krug is one hell of a defense partner to be paired with.
Boston’s defense corps was usually at their best this season when an offensive defenseman and a defensive defenseman were paired together, and few players this year had better chemistry than Krug and McQuaid, where in most nights Torey Krug could happily help take up the slack of getting the puck out of the zone in cases where McQuaid struggled, and McQuaid could help Krug out if he was ever caught behind Rask and pinned down by shoving a few players over. This worked to the point where he and Krug were usually within the top 5 of possession for defenders! This tandem made him look like a much improved player
And of course, Adam McQuaid kept the crowd entertained by being one of the better reminders to never fight Boston’s defense ever. Dude can still throw hands when given the chance.
As for points? Well...Points are more Torey Krug’s thing. McQuaid was usually just as well to be on the ice to pass the puck off and did so in an intelligent way. McQuaid’s shot is fine, but it’s not a featured attraction.
Of course, he still had one of his major flaws come to light once again: Injury, and he still occasionally missed time as he was nursing some form of pain or another. However on a lighter note this year was one of his better ones for lacing the skates up, having finished 77 NHL games, which is a a new career high for him!
...And then he got hurt in the playoffs.
Sometimes even in good years, life refuses McQuaid the opportunity to play 82 NHL games.
It’s kind of hard to say whether or not he could make this kind of performance a reality in the future, but as it stands McQuaid’s no-frills, not-very-photogenic version of hockey meshes very well with Torey Krug’s skill, speed, breakneck pace setting and smart passing style of hockey, creating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of quality defense that he benefitted from tremendously.
Games Played: 77
Playoff Statline: 1 assist
Final Aggregate CF%: 54.27%
What do you think of McQuaid’s grade?
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