Everytime a team does not perform to its expectations, there is usually a round of recriminations and a promise from the front office that it will make the necessary changes in order to bring a championship home to their fans. In a city like Boston, where we have an embarrassment of riches in the ‘world champion’ department, those expectations can be higher still. We know the Boston Bruins’ front office was not at all pleased being kicked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That it happened at the hands of their long time rivals was especially painful. We know that the Bruins are likely to shake up their roster to bolster success in the future.
This tweet, courtesy of Shawn Hutcheon of Fourth Period Magazine shows us in which direction the Boston Bruins may be going.
— Shawn Hutcheon (@ShawnHutcheon) June 5, 2014
Once upon a time, (that would be three years ago) Brad Marchand was an obnoxious point-making, penalty-drawing machine for the Black and Gold. Over the last few seasons, his production has remained relatively constant in the regular season, but has taken a severe downturn in the post-season. The year the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, Marchand tallied nineteen points(eleven goals) for Boston. (We can argue about the plus/minus factors of Tyler Seguin over Reilly Smith at another time.) In the three subsequent playoff runs for Boston, the Bruins “Little Ball of Hate” has put up twenty points (only five goals).
Marchand can by no means be called a terrible player. Marchand has played three hundred regular season games in a Bruins uniform. He has a total of one hundred and eighty six points in his tenure(ninety two goals). This year, he tallied fifty three of those points (twenty five goals). His plus/minus was a +36, and the only other people who beat him in the league on that chart were his brother Bruins David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron. There is also the small matter of him leading the league in short handed goals (five) last year. He’s still an elite player.
That being said, he’s an elite player that has a tendency to do the wrong thing at a bad time. Marchand accrued eighteen minutes of penalty minutes during this season’s playoff run, more than any other on the team. It can be safely said that the only player on the team that made as many glaring and egregious errors as Marchand was Matt Bartkowski (whose fate is likely sealed in Boston). His inability to get a goal in the postseason did not raise his stock much either. There are several factors that will likely keep Brad Marchand in Boston next season. To be honest, this may be the lowest his trade value has been since he came up from the Providence Bruins back in the 2009-10 season. He still has three years left on his contract. That contract will cause a four and a half million dollar cap hit to anyone that takes him. That takes three quarters of the franchises out of the running right there.
Next, we have to appreciate that it wasn’t just Brad Marchand who tanked this postseason. David Krejci did not play to his potential in the postseason. He had a rougher run of it than Marchand did. He earned one less assist than Marchand and had a -3 to boot. No one is talking about moving Krejci around, and I think this likely a fishing expedition by the Bruins front office.
Finally, Marchand has a no trade clause in his contract. A lot of players will only waive that no-trade clause away if they believe they can get on a team that can win the Cup. All of the Bruins players said in their exit interviews that they believed they should have won it all this year. The team is still amazing (breakdowns and injuries aside), and it will be hard to find a team with that kind of cap flexibility and a strong enough squad to make that happen. We all remember the rumors that Brad Marchand was being shopped around last year with Chris Kelly. In the end, it was Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley who got traded. (I think it’s safe to say that we won the final tally on that one.) While the Bruins are shopping him around, I’d say it’s pretty safe to say we’ll have at least three more years of Marchand in Boston. (Unless he gets worse.)