Boston Bruins Season Preview 2015-16: Brad Marchand

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The NHL regular season is finally underway! After months of waiting, hockey fans everywhere can finally enjoy their favorite teams taking to the ice in hopes of making the playoffs and meeting their ultimate goal: hoisting the Stanley Cup high over their heads! The Boston Bruins underwent a very crucial retool during the offseason and will look to return to the postseason just one year after missing it for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Each player will have to pull their weight to succeed, and this series of articles will provide a prediction of how each player will do in the 2015-16 season.

The next player preview is Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand has been a fixture on Patrice Bergeron‘s line for years. The odd-time that he was moved up or down the lineup was always a temporary adjustment to spark some sort of offense for the Bruins, and never lasted long. As the player with the best goal-scoring ability on the Bruins, Marchand was often criticized last season when he was faced with various goalless droughts. The criticism was expected, but also may not have been fair given the fact that nobody on the Bruins was able to generate much offense last season, and Marchand still scored 24 goals and 42 points while also contributing defensively and on the penalty kill.

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  • Despite Marchand having trouble scoring at various points in the season, it definitely wasn’t from a lack of trying. Brad Marchand actually generated a career-high number of shots on net during the 2015-16 season, and if that can be maintained moving forward, Marchand should be able to find the back of the net consistently for seasons to come. Marchand’s goal-totals each season are impressive, starting with the 21 goals he netted in his rookie campaign followed by the 28 in his sophomore season. During 45 games in the lockout-shortened season, Marchand still found a way to net 18 goals, and has scored 25 and 24 goals respectively over the last two seasons. Those numbers seem to point to Marchand being a virtual lock for at least 20 goals, and he could even push 30 this season if the Bruins offense picks up. One thing that is being highly discussed lately is the fact that 3-on-3 overtime will help increase points across the league after a very low-scoring season in 2014-15. Marchand should be able to net 28 goals again this season and should be more than capable of adding 26 assists, making for a 54 point season. In addition to his offensive ability, one part of Brad Marchand’s game that is highly underrated is his defensive ability.

    Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron make up arguably the best two-way forward combination in the entire NHL. Patrice Bergeron is on a level of his own defensively, but Brad Marchand is no slouch either when it comes to on-ice awareness, coupled with his speed and back-checking ability. Being counted on in all situations, Marchand is often tasked with playing some of the toughest minutes among Bruins forwards, being matched up against opposing teams best offensive-weapons. Claude Julien is a fan of players that can play a 200-foot game, and Marchand is one of the league’s best. The combination of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand has led to many speedy-breakout plays which can lead to goals, and at worst, energy for a Bruins team that sorely needed it last season. Brad Marchand is now 27 and has gained maturity over the years, especially during this offseason in which he’s seemingly grown leaps-and-bounds maturity-wise.

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    Brad Marchand has become one of the leaders of the Bruins both on the ice and off-ice, and that goes a long way for the young guys coming into the locker room. Brad Marchand is a pest to opposing teams on his best day, but is also not afraid to stand up for his teammates when push comes to shove. During the final stretch of the 2014-15 season, Washington Capital’s forward Tom WIlson took a run at Ryan Spooner, and Brad Marchand took exception to this. Tom Wilson is 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds while Marchand is listed generously as 5-foot-9 and 183 pounds. That size difference didn’t stop Marchand from pursuing the large forward in an attempt to protect one of the Bruins more promising young forwards. This leadership should continue to grow throughout the season as the Bruins attempt to become playoff contenders once again.

    To recap:

    1. Marchand will take on an even bigger leadership role this season

    2. Marchand will score 28 goals

    3. Marchand will assist on 26 goals

    Follow Brandon Share-Cohen on Twitter @BShareCohen to discuss all things Bruins and sports

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