WILMINGTON, Mass. — The salary cap brought on the era of not being able to keep every player a team likes.
That reality hit the Bruins Monday, when they decided to trade Matt Hunwick to Colorado for prospect Colby Cohen. Now head coach Claude Julien is in the position of having to coach a team that should have center Marc Savard back from injury soon, but lacks speed on the back end.
“It was hard to let a guy go like that because he was our best skater back there; probably the guy that you leaned on the most to bring the puck up the ice,” said the coach after his team’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “I guess the feeling is that our organization feels that there’s a few of those guys that are up-and-coming in the minors and we’ll be able to fill those voids hopefully sooner than later. But we had to make some room. Those are things that are done for the situation of liberating some cap space.”
For now, large defenseman Adam McQuaid will be inserted into the Boston lineup in Hunwick’s place. McQuaid plays a simple game and is more reliant on physicality than speed. Julien says he’s now looking for the guys on the back end to get the puck off their sticks more often.
“I’ve got to put guys in and try to get the most out of them, I guess,” said the coach. “I think Adam McQuaid, to me, has been pretty steady, he’s been physical. He doesn’t have the same elements that Matt Hunwick had. Matt Hunwick is a good skater and could bring the puck up the ice. But he didn’t have the toughness that McQuaid has.
“So you’ve got to play within the strengths, and I think the one thing we want to do is move our puck up the ice as best we can. Sometimes when you don’t have those puck-carriers, you’ve got to have better puck-movers. Our guys have to move the puck a little better. That’s the way I would tell you right now that we’re going to have to compensate with his loss.”