WILMINGTON – With the Bruins pretty close to what could be their roster to open the season after the July 1 free agency period, Don Sweeney has moved on to contract negotiations with high profile left wing Brad Marchand.
The 28-year-old Marchand is coming off a career season where he posted 37 goals and 61 points for the Bruins, and has moved from agitating pest to one of the best 1-2 combos in the league with longtime linemate Patrice Bergeron. Marchand has consistently been among the leading goal-scorers for the Bruins in each of his six NHL seasons, and is just now entering the final year of his contract with the Black and Gold.
Sweeney confirmed on Friday that he’s started discussions with Marchand’s agent, Wade Arnott, and that the Bruins are hoping to get something done with their left wing prior to the start of the 2016-17 season.
“I’ve started talks with Brad’s group,” said Sweeney. “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.”
That last part from Sweeney would seem to indicate that the Bruins aren’t going to shy away from a seven or eight year deal with the Nose Face Killah, who has become a leader and a clutch performer in addition to playing in all situations for the Bruins. The money would have to be in the $6.5-7 million per season neighborhood that both Bergeron and David Krejci currently inhabit, and could be even more if it doesn’t get signed until after another monster Marchand season in 2016-17.
Marchand also mentioned a desire to play with the Bruins for the rest of his career while on the Great American Hockey Show podcast back in April.
“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 to CSN when asked about his future in Boston in the days following their bitter regular season finale loss to the Ottawa Senators. “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.
“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.”
That length of contract would take Marchand to 36 or 37 years old, and keep Bergeron happy with his partner-in-crime by his side as both players enter the late prime years of their career. It would appear, however, that the contract negotiations are in the very beginning stages at this point, and it might be some time before things heat up around the time of training camp.
Joe Haggerty can be followed on Twitter: @HacksWithHaggs