(Photo Credit: Jared Silber/NHLI)

By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff

On January 17, 2021, Adam McQuaid announced the end of his playing career in the NHL. McQuaid played 12 seasons in the NHL for three teams, nine of those seasons with the Boston Bruins. On October 12, McQuaid will be celebrating his 35th birthday. McQuaid was a defenseman not known for his scoring ability.

However, he made up for it with his tremendous toughness and willingness to stick up for teammates. Unfortunately, McQuaid’s career was cut short due to his injury history. His most recent injury, a herniated disk in his neck, was the final straw, and McQuaid called it a career. Since today is McQuaid’s birthday, let’s take a look back at the career of “Darth Quaider.”

Finding a Home in Boston

Drafted 55th overall in the 2005 NHL Draft, McQuaid was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets. McQuaid would spend four seasons in the OHL playing for the Sudbury Wolves and accompanied for 76 points in those four seasons. During the ’06-’07 offseason, Columbus traded McQuaid to the Boston Bruins for a 5th round draft pick. The Bruins immediately sent McQuaid to the Providence Bruins, and McQuaid spent the next three seasons playing for the AHL team.

In three seasons with Providence, McQuaid totaled 34 points in 178 games played. During the Boston Bruins playoff hunt in 2010, McQuaid was called up to play for the big boys after the Bruins Defensemen were riddled by injuries. McQuaid provided size to a defensemen’s core that was overall small outside of Zdeno Chara. McQuaid used his size to advantage during the playoffs when he accounted for nine hits in 9 games and blocked nine shots. Unfortunately, a knee injury knocked him out of the playoffs during the semifinals against Philadelphia.

Next season McQuaid found an enhanced role with the Bruins as he was called up full-time from Providence. McQuaid played 67 games and scored three goals to go along with 12 assists. He made sure to use his size to his advantage as he tallied 104 hits during the season. The Bruins were now in a playoff run and would end up winning the Stanley Cup Final.

A team effort from everyone, but McQuaid was playing a more significant role than he anticipated. McQuaid played 23 of the 25 games, assisted on four goals, and had 30 hits. In just a season and a half, McQuaid was called up from Providence and was now a Stanley Cup Champion. During the 2011 offseason, the Bruins signed McQuaid to a three-year extension.

After signing the extension, McQuaid’s next three seasons with Boston would feature him coming on and off the IR. However, when McQuaid did play, he punished his opponents and was a brick wall for Boston. A highlight for McQuaid came in the ’12-’13 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he scored the game-winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Unfortunately, the following season, which was also the final season of his contract, McQuaid missed most of the season with an illness. However, the Bruins front office seemed not to worry about McQuaid’s prior injury history and signed him to a four-year contract extension through the 2018-19 season, accounting for $2.75 million per year.

Off to New York and the End of McQuaid’s Career

McQuaid only played three of the four years on the contract he signed in the offseason of 2015 before being traded to New York on September 11, 2018. Boston would trade McQuaid to the Rangers for Steven Kampfer, a fourth-round draft pick and a seventh-round draft pick in 2019. The trade would end McQuaid’s nine-year career with Boston. In nine years with Boston, McQuaid played 462 games, scored 13 goals, 53 assists, 870 hits, and an average of 16:18 time-on-ice. A force to reckon with in Boston was now headed to Madison Square Garden.

McQuaid added a physical presence on the blueline of the rebuilding Rangers and recorded two goals and 5 points through 36 games. With the Rangers out of playoff contention and in his final year under contract, McQuaid was traded by the Rangers at the trade deadline to his original draft club, the Columbus Blue Jackets, in exchange for Julius Berman and a fourth and seventh-round picks in 2019 on February 25, 2019. As injuries continued to riddle McQuaid, McQuaid decided to call it a career on January 16, 2021, ending the 12 season career for him.

A Role with the Bruins Front Office

Just seven months after retiring, McQuaid rejoined the Bruins Organization as the team’s new player development coordinator. The job was recently held by another former Bruin, Chris Kelly, who is now an assistant coach for the team. McQuaid will be spending a lot of time in Providence and traveling to colleges and maybe Europe to see the prospects and draft picks.

The Boston home base will allow McQuaid to keep tabs on a few of the franchise’s NCAA prospects, from Boston College’s Trevor Kuntar (No. 89 overall, 2020) to Boston University’s Ty Gallagher (No. 217, 2021) and Providence College’s Riley Duran (No. 182 overall, 2020). The Bruins could also have top prospects such as Ohio State’s Mason Lohrei (No. 58, 2020) and Michigan’s Johnny Beecher.

So Adam McQuaid, on behalf of myself and the entire BNG Hockey Organization, we wish you a Happy 35th Birthday.