Throughout the off-season, into training camp and with the season only one day away, the rumor has remained that the Boston Bruins would love to bolster their defense in some way, shape or form before the season begins. And that need for a boost on the back end may look even greater come opening night as the Bruins could be without two blueline regulars.
The Bruins announced Monday that their blueline is banged up as the season approaches, with both Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller dealing with knocks suffered as the pre-season wound down. McQuaid’s injury is listed simply as day-to-day with what some are referring to as a “middle-body injury,” while the outlook on Miller is uncertain.
According to CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, the injury to Miller came during Saturday’s pre-season finale against the Philadelphia Flyers, but the extent or nature of the ailment is unknown. Miller was set to undergo further evaluation Monday, but no timeline for return was announced by the Bruins.
While being without McQuaid and Miller doesn’t make the situation as dire as starting the season with, say, Torey Krug, John Michael-Liles or Zdeno Chara on the shelf, but its definitely not good news for a Bruins defense that hasn’t been the picture of depth in recent years. The Bruins won’t even be able to rely on rearguards with any NHL experience to fill in for McQuaid and Miller if they’re out longer than expected.
For the time being, Boston appears ready to hand the minutes over to rookies Brandon Carlo and Rob O’Gara, who have a sum total of 13 games of AHL experience to their names. Carlo was a second-round pick in 2015 who made the jump to the AHL at the end of the past campaign on a tryout deal, while O’Gara, a fifth-round pick in 2011, comes to the Bruins after four years with Yale.
Some would have expected one veteran, Christian Ehrhoff, to potentially be part of the squad come the start of the season after making enough of an impression on the Bruins with his World Cup of Hockey performance that he was able to land a tryout deal. However, Ehrhoff has decided against sticking around after learning he wouldn’t be part of the blueline’s top-six, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
If McQuaid or Miller are out long-term, or if either Carlo or O’Gara struggle to start the season, it might ramp up the Bruins’ search for some help on the back end.
There were a handful of defensemen who hit the waiver wire Monday, including Arizona Coyotes veteran Zbynek Michalek and Dallas Stars youngster Mattias Backman, and the Bruins could weigh their waiver options if they’re not quite sold on using Carlo or O’Gara to round out the defense.
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