Boston Bruins: Brad Marchand’s Contract Conundrum

Mar 8, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Bruins: Brad Marchand’s Contract Conundrum Will End Sooner Than Later if Don Sweeney is Smart

With the Bruins development camp all wrapped up, it’s time for general manager Don Sweeney to look at his next pressing task – signing Brad Marchand. The good news? Sweeney addressed the issue following the conclusion of the development camp. The bad news? There wasn’t a lot of commitment from the B’s general manager that he would do everything in his power to get a deal done.

“I’ve started talks with Brad’s group,” Sweeney said. “I think I’ve been pretty upfront with the fact that we’ve identified (Marchand) as a core guy, and we want to continue down that path. It always takes two sides to make a deal, and I would envision that he’d like to be a part of this organization for what could arguably be his whole career. Brad has a say in this as well, but as far as talking contracts that’s about as far as I’ll go in that regard.”

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Sweeney identified Marchand as a “core guy”, although that much was obvious already. The fact that he’s already started talks is good, but a player like Marchand is one that the Bruins should not let get away. Sweeney already saw the risks and potential outcome of leaving a player unsigned entering the final year of his contract after the Loui Eriksson ordeal. If he’s learned anything in his brief time as Bruins GM, it should be that player’s like Marchand and Eriksson aren’t easy to replace and that he can’t lose both in consecutive seasons.

In November, Marchand himself stated that he’d love to play for the Bruins for his entire career.

"“When someone has played in one place as long as I have — and I know there’s guys that have been here longer than I have — it would be a dream come true to play here my whole career,” he said. “I understand the game and the business of things, but I think as long as I continue to work hard and hold up my end of the bargain, hopefully I can be here for a while. It is something that crosses my mind. I know that I have a year and a half left on my deal, but it is something I think about and I would obviously love to be here for a long time.” – Brad Marchand"

The 28-year-old left winger reiterated his intentions again (although without as much enthusiasm as it came following the Bruins disappointing loss to the Ottawa Senators in the Bruins season finale) in April with Joe Haggerty of CSNNE on the Great American Hockey Show.

“We’ll see. That’s a little ways away right now, but if the time comes and that comes up then we’ll deal with it then. But that’s not what we’re thinking about right now, it’s more about the disappointment (of the season) right now,” Marchand said when asked about his future in Boston following the Bruins disappointing conclusion of the regular season.  “I obviously love being a part of this organization, this city, and this team, and I don’t think this team is done having some good runs.”

He concluded by saying:

“I would love to be a part of this organization for the rest of my career, but the reality is when you look around the league that it doesn’t happen for many guys. We’ll deal with it when the time comes, I don’t think anybody is going to push it right now.”

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When it comes down to it, Brad Marchand deserves to be a lifetime Bruin. The issue, however, is that the Bruins have made it very hard to believe that any player can truly be a lifer anymore, barring maybe Patrice Bergeron. From Joe Thornton, to Phil Kessel, to Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton, Milan Lucic, and others, some of the biggest names to pass through Boston in the last 20 years have seen their way out of Boston in unceremonious fashion.

Marchand brings elite, two-way ability to the team, as well as a knack for scoring goals. If the Bruins truly want to make the playoffs sooner, rather than later, Marchand is not the player they should balk at when it comes to contract talks. Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, and David Krejci all received their long-term contracts following some of their better seasons in the league at the time, so it stands to reason that Brad Marchand should be paid as well.

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If the Bruins are lucky, they’ll be able to lock up Marchand to a contract worth $6 million per season. Now back in the world of reality, the price more-than-likely starts at $6.5 million, and jumps to the $7 million to $7.5 million range and beyond as the season progresses. Marchand has consistently improved every season and is a sure-lock for at least 20 goals each season, and has 30 to 40 goal potential as well as evidenced by last season. Players like that are a hot commodity in the NHL and if Sweeney doesn’t lock him up, somebody else will.