GREENBURGH, N.Y. — It’s February, which means the NHL trade deadline is a little more than three weeks away, making this a nervous time in locker rooms all around the league.
Rangers defenseman Adam McQuaid is trying not to think about it.
McQuaid, 32, acquired by the Rangers for depth defenseman Steven Kampfer and a couple of late-round draft picks in a trade with the Boston Bruins on the eve of training camp, is beginning to get comfortable in New York, and he’s hoping to stay a while.
“I feel like I’ve kind of gotten into a routine here now,’’ McQuaid said Friday after the Rangers practiced in preparation for hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning in an NBC game Saturday night. “I feel much more comfortable than I was when I first got here. I’m really enjoying my time here — the city, the organization — everything.
“It was certainly an adjustment at first. It took some time, and in some ways, it’s probably still growing in that regard. But it’s been a great experience.’’
After an early-season injury caused him to miss 21 games before returning in mid-December, McQuaid has settled in quite nicely on the Rangers’ defense, partnering with Brady Skjei in what recently has become coach David Quinn’s top defense pair.
The 6-4, 210-pound native of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, doesn’t score much (no goals, three assists in 26 games), but he has been solid at the back (plus-2) and has provided a welcome physical presence for the Rangers.
McQuaid, a righthanded shot, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. His age and size, the fact that he will drop the gloves when necessary and his modest salary ($2.75 million) could make him a desirable commodity for a contending team looking to improve its defensive depth. It’s something he’s well aware of.
“Yeah, I think that comes, sometimes, with being on an expiring contract,’’ he said. “I do feel like I’m just getting started here. I would like to stay. This is where I want to be. [But] the more or less you think about it, it probably doesn’t change the situation a whole lot.’’
The possibility he could be traded any time in the next 3 1⁄2 weeks isn’t something he can really prepare for, he said.
“I don’t know. For me, anyways, it’s more I want to be in the moment,’’ he said. “I use the term I want to be ‘invested’ here, invested in this group. Until you’re told otherwise. Because otherwise, your mind — you’re always somewhere else. It’s a strange concept.’’
Notes & quotes: Right wing Jesper Fast missed practice again with another “maintenance day,’’ but coach David Quinn said he’ll be OK to play . . . Quinn said Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal and right wing Pavel Buchnevich, who was scratched Tuesday against the Flyers, will play left wing on the second line with center Kevin Hayes and Fast.