COUNTDOWN TO CAMP: Brad Marchand
Countdown to camp: Brad Marchand
From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2017-18 Bruins. Today: Brad Marchand.
In the prime of his NHL career, Brad Marchand finished with 39 goals and 85 points in 80 games and became the first point-per-game player for the Bruins since the heyday of Marc Savard. Marchand also became a Hart Trophy candidate for the first time while scoring clutch goals, excelling in all situations and even adding a higher degree of playmaking to his repertoire while setting career-highs in goals, assists and points. Marchand, 29, should be primed for another stellar season while forming one of the NHL's best duos with Patrice Bergeron.
What Happened Last Year
Marchand started off strong after dominating at the World Cup of Hockey and paced the Bruins offense last season while scoring clutch goals, killing penalties and making certain that the B’s didn’t fall into prolonged slumps. Marchand has become a true threat in every situation. That was never was that more obvious than last season when he elevated all facets of his game to a higher level. The added power-play time for Marchand allowed him to really flex his playmaking muscles. Last season, he became a much more of a complete offensive player than a guy with tremendous 1-on-1 hockey skills and a whole lot of tenacity. The one black mark against him was the suspension taken late in the season that could have conceivably cost the Bruins their playoff berth. Instead, it now becomes something Marchand must avoid moving forward. As it is, he cost himself the chance for a 40-goal season, which would have looked nice on his NHL resume.
Questions To Be Answered This Season
The biggest question for Marchand: can he continue to keep his cool and stay out of trouble with the league? He managed to do it pretty much all season before a couple of tripping plays caught their attention, and then a retaliation play late in the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning ended up getting him suspended for the final few games. Marchand is too valuable in all situations and too good to take the bait in those situations. He needs to continue to work on the discipline aspect of his game as other Bruins such as Noel Acciari begin to take on more of an agitator role. Aside from that, Marchand should be primed for another Hart Trophy-level season with a healthy Patrice Bergeron at his side.
In Their Own Words
“We definitely took some steps in the right direction...bringing the young guys in and getting back in the playoffs, getting that hunger again that maybe we might have missed having the last couple of years. It’s great, too, for the young guys to see what the playoffs are like and get that taste of wanting to win, the crowd wanting to win, the city wanting to win, and what it can take to win or lose a series. We went through a lot of good things, showed a lot of character this year, it’s great for the guys to see that, believe that, and bring that into next year.” – Marchand, excited to build upon last season's accomplishments.
Marchand has become one of the best players in the NHL in an unlikely rise from fourth-line agitator as a rookie all the way to highly skilled, prolific scorer who's also adept in all situations on the ice. Marchand forms a dangerous game-breaking duo with David Pastrnak for the Bruins, can still play physical hockey when he wants to, even as a smaller guy, and has also become a leader that sets a good example with his work ethic and joyful approach to the game. It will be interesting to see if he can match his numbers and impact from last season, but it’s no longer wise to doubt Marchand after he’s clearly taken his game to another level over the past two seasons.