Bruins

Bruins

With Don Sweeney firmly in place as the Bruins general manager, the organization spent this week getting back to the business of piecing together next season’s roster. The first order of business for Sweeney and right hand man John Ferguson Jr. is clearing cap space, and then comes retaining some of their own free agent class.

The Bruins are prepping to enter the next stage of negotiations with Adam McQuaid’s agent, Paul Krepelka, and McQuaid’s camp “hope to have an offer very soon” to retain the rugged, prototypical B’s defenseman. There was some question as to whether the Bruins would have the cap space to keep McQuaid given Kevan Miller is a similar, cheaper, younger stay-at-home defenseman, and any deal may still be predicated on the B’s ability to clear some space.

But all in all it’s good news for McQuaid, who has always been a hard-hitting, tough and strong defensive defenseman, one who is very hard to play against in the D-zone and has worn the Black and Gold with fiery pride.

“We’re holding out hope [to get something done],” said Krepelka to CSNNE.com. “He’s a good fit here [in Boston].”

McQuaid played in 63 games last season after missing big chunks of time over the previous two seasons due to injuries, and averaged a career-high 18:26 of ice time along with one goal, seven points and a minus-2 rating. McQuaid is coming off a three-year, $4.7 million contract where he admittedly struggled, mostly due to injuries, to replicate his first two full NHL seasons. But he’s still a rock-solid bottom pairing D-man that showed some ability to play up into the top four last season, and is a great mentor to the younger players.

McQuaid also is one of the few Bruins players still capable of dropping the gloves and instilling fear in opponents, and that’s an asset that shouldn’t be undervalued given Boston wants to get back in touch with their Big Bad roots. It would be in Boston’s best interests to sign McQuaid sooner rather than later to take advantage of what should be a clear hometown discount from a player feeling a huge tug of loyalty toward the Bruins.

“My priority, my goal would be to come back here. I don’t know if that’s realistic or not,” said McQuaid on B’s breakup day back in April. “I guess time will tell. I’ll wait and see if it comes to [hitting free agency], and then obviously you have to go down that avenue.

“But this is where I want to be. It’s the organization that…they’ve given me so many opportunities, and worked with me. I’ve said before that they’ve stuck with me through some tough times, and there were times that I felt like – there were things I couldn’t control, obviously, with injuries and stuff – but I felt like I wished I could have done more and been available, and I wasn’t. There were times I felt like I hadn’t held up my end of the bargain as far as that stuff is concerned. It wasn’t anything I could necessarily control, so it was hard that way.”

If McQuaid were able to enter a weak free agent class on July 1 and begin negotiating with other teams, a contract like the three-year, $8.75 million signed by Deryk Engelland would be a fair comparable for the rugged 28-year-old D-man. The two-year, $4.5 million deal signed by Nick Schultz with the Philadelphia Flyers would make sense as the likely neighborhood the Bruins would be looking at for McQuaid, a fair raise from the $1.8 million salary he made last season in the final year of his deal.