John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
A spare roster part for stretches of last season and pegged for more of the same in 2018-19, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was dealt Tuesday morning to New York, where the 31-year-old back liner will be expected to log ample playing minutes on a Rangers team in rebuild mode.
McQuaid, a member of the Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup-winning squad, was dealt for journeyman defenseman Steve Kampfer, who previously played parts of two seasons with Boston, including his rookie season in 2010-11. The Bruins also acquired two picks (a fourth-rounder and a conditional seventh-rounder) in next June’s draft.
Kampfer, on a two-way deal ($650,000/$300,000) likely will be assigned to AHL Providence prior to the Oct. 3 start of the season, given that the Bruins still have seven NHL-caliber defensemen on their roster.
McQuaid has one more year remaining on his deal, a $2.75 million cap hit, money that, in theory, now could be shifted to contract extensions for Boston blue liners Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, both of whom are on target to become restricted free agents next July 1. At a minimum, the Bruins added $2.1 million in cap space by shedding McQuaid’s contract.
“A very difficult day for me, personally,” said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, “and for the organization as well. We want to thank Adam — a tremendous Bruin, a tremendous teammate.”
McQuaid was not available to media gathered at the club’s practice facility in Brighton Tuesday prior to the club leaving for Logan Airport.
The trade came just hours before McQuaid was expected to be on the club’s early-afternoon flight to China, where the Bruins will play a pair of exhibition games against Calgary over the next 10 days. His name was yanked from the manifest and his bags instead readied for Broadway.
Because of the short notice, explained Sweeney, the Bruins were not able to complete the paperwork (passport, visa, etc.) to add someone for the China trip in McQuaid’s absence. Coach Bruce Cassidy will have seven defensemen available for the games overseas.
“It’s an opportunity for Adam to get to the Rangers and start right from square one,” said Sweeney. “I think that was part it. We’ve gone back and forth for a while, wondering if we would stay as is . . . or to allow some of the younger guys to continue to push through.”
The 6-foot-4-inch, 212-pound McQuaid, who suited up for 530 games in Black and Gold, has long been a favorite among teammates, not only for his genuine and sincere demeanor, but also for his physical play and willingness to drop the gloves. He and team captain Zdeno Chara have long been a towering, intimidating presence. Fisticuffs are less important in today’s NHL, but McQuaid’s muscle still provided a level of comfort on the bench.
“It comes in smaller doses, and Adam always found the right time to do those things,” said Sweeney.
The GM added that he is convinced the toughness factor will remain covered, despite McQuaid’s departure.
“I’ve always believed in team toughness,” said Sweeney. “It’s been part of this organization for a long time. Even my time in Dallas. I firmly believe you do that through a team aspect.”
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