A lot of Bruins fans were expecting Tyler Seguin to have an amazing year, and they expected the ‘Little Ball of Hate’ to be playing third fiddle to Seguin and Patrice Bergeron. Brad Marchand proved a lot of hockey fans wrong last year. While he was still a chipping pesk to those who didn’t wear black and gold, #63 had one of his best seasons in the NHL (shortened season not withstanding).
Brad Marchand led the team in goals last year (18) and overall points (36). While the powerplay in general was elusive yet again for Boston, Marchand did put up four of those goals with the man advantage (also a team leader). The Bruins put up only five shorthanded goals last year. Marchand was responsible for two of them. (Paille and Campbell got the rest.) He ended up second in the +/- category with a +23. Heading into the post season, Marchand had shown himself to be as a reliable player as Patrice Bergeron is.
The Bergeron line (Marchand included) had a lower profile in the post-season. Bergeron’s injuries were piling up, and Tyler Seguin’s production had been practically non existant. All that had to play into Marchand’s scoring. He did score four goals(and put up thirteen points) for the Bruins as they got to their second Stanley Cup Final in three years.
Marchand proved he had what it took to step out of the shadow of his linemates and shine on his own merits. Had Tim Thomas not had such a monster post-season, Brad Marchand would have been the likely winner of the Conn Smythe in 2011. Unless some horrible scenario plays out, Marchand will once again be paired up with Patrice Bergeron. They’ve played together for the last three seasons, and they can play instinctively with each other. When you add the dependable firepower of Loui Eriksson to the mix, the second line will be just as reliable as the Krejci line is (factoring in Jarome Iginla replacing a departed Nathan Horton.)
Brad Marchand will be at the top or very near all the major scoring categories this season as well. He’s healthy, and he’s matured to the point where he knows when to chirp, and when to go for the big play. Just ask Matt Cooke.