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Monday, September 26, 2016

Marchand Takes a Bit of a Discount to Hopefully Spend the Rest of His NHL Career as a Bruin

Oh hello friends, sorry for the extended absence over the spring and summer but I'm back here now that the Bruins' preseason has begun. Perhaps if you're good, I'll also sprinkle in some Red Sox playoff stuff, Patriots and Celtics thoughts as well from time to time as long as I'm feeling it. Hours before their first fake game, the Bruins made headlines by agreeing to an eight-year extension with star left wing Brad Marchand worth $49 million (average annual value of $6.125 million per year). He is currently away on Team Canada duty so all we got from Marchand was some hastily assembled quotes and videos from the Bruins media relations team, it'll be fun to hear from the man himself when he gets back soon (after Canada beats Europe in the World Cup of Hockey Final series in Toronto).

Coming off a career-season (37 goals, 23 assists and +21 in 77 games), Marchand's NHL value has never been higher. He's second on Team Canada in scoring (3 goals, 2 assists) and this should calm down those recent rumors that popped up the last few days about him going to Pittsburgh to play with his temporary linemate Sidney Crosby (ever heard of him?). At 28, Marchand is in the prime of his career and with Patrice Bergeron by his side wherever he goes, the B's have a spectacular 1-2 punch locked up now for awhile. They have been on the same forward line for years with the B's and Crosby is centering them on Canada, why mess with success?

Of course, a true cynical Bruins fan would like this move but then rightfully question what the hell they are doing with their defensemen? They really never changed anything over the off-season to address by far their biggest need-on the back end. Marchand, Bergeron, David Krejci, David Backes, David Pastrnak, etc should provide plenty of offensive firepower but unless many of the young defensemen step up in a big way, it's hard to see the B's being that much better than they've been these last two frustrating seasons (where they've missed out on the playoffs each time by losing the final contest).

Conversely, it's promising to see a core player that still believes in the Bruins' shaky front office and coaching staff, enough so to leave millions of dollars on the table that he undoubtedly could have gotten elsewhere. This was a very fair deal for what Marchand is currently worth and what that could increase to over the next few seasons if he keeps bumping up his production. It's easy to forget at times but Boston really isn't that far away from a Stanley Cup (2011), another Finals appearance (2013) and a Presidents' Trophy (2014). Marchand was an integral part of all those teams and if the Black and Gold are ever going to return to those glory days anytime soon, he no doubt will be a huge reason why. With this contract will come much more pressure on Brad but he typically is the type of player that thrives under those circumstances so I'm confident that he won't change anything about his game that got him here in the first place.

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