Rangers Need To Explore Their Options With Adam McQuaid

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When the Rangers acquired Adam McQuaid from the Boston Bruins during the offseason, they were hoping that the rugged, veteran defenseman would help provide stability and toughness to the blue line. Unfortunately for Jeff Gorton and David Quinn, that has not been the case over the first month of the season.

Perhaps it is the fact that McQuaid, who had been with the Bruins organization since 2007, is still adjusting to life in The Big Apple. Maybe it is that McQuaid is still getting back into game shape after breaking his leg and having surgery last season. But, whatever the reason or excuse¬†may be, the fact remains that McQuaid hasn’t earned a nightly spot in the lineup.

This wasn’t just spurred on from the fact that McQuaid got injured in last night’s 4-1 loss against the Blackhawks. It’s been going on, for me at least, since the start of the season. McQuaid has looked out of place at times. Positionally, he seems a little lost in his own zone, and there have been times where he hasn’t been hard enough on his opponent in front of the net and his man scores a goal.

On Sunday night against Calgary, he was deked by Johnny Gaudreau before the NJ native scored on a spinning backhand from inside the hash marks. The week prior against the Oilers, he not only lost the battle in front of the net to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but ended up on the other side of the net when RNH tied the game at one. In the goal-fest against Carolina, McQuaid got on the wrong side of his man who would set up Jordan Staal for a breakaway goal. Finally, against the Panthers, a game which the Rangers won 5-2, McQuaid didn’t follow his man or communicate to his partner to switch onto his man, which ended up in a wraparound goal for the Panthers. Even last night, McQuaid and Brady Skjei skated into each other, allowing Jonathan Toews to walk in for a goal.

Is this nitpicking? Maybe. But in a season meant for rebuilding and seeing what the young kids can do, trading McQuaid should definitely be explored. And now with McQuaid potentially being sidelined for the rest of the California trip, Tony DeAngelo, who is expected to take McQuaid’s spot in the lineup, will get his shot to show the coaching staff he belongs on the ice.

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What’s he worth?

So assuming that McQuaid will be moved before the season ends, the question becomes what can the Rangers get for a veteran, bottom-four defenseman? If I’m being honest, I don’t think a whole lot.

McQuaid is in the final year of his four-year deal he got from the Bruins, and he carries an AAV of $2.75 million. This is not a crazy amount, so he should be relatively easy to move if a team is interested in his services. If we are looking ahead and Jeff Gorton has him on the trading block when we get to the February 25th deadline, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to see McQuaid garner a third-round or fourth-round draft pick. This would allow not only a guy like DeAngelo to get an extended look in the lineup, but it would allow the Rangers as an organization to see what they have from their defensive prospects, including Libor Hajek, Ryan Lindgren, and John Gilmour, among others.

Hopefully, McQuaid will come back from his injury and return to being close to the guy who helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011. But if not, which will likely be the case, the Rangers should look to move him so they can continue to rebuild the organization into a perennial contender.