Brad Marchand scored 37 goals in a career year for the Black and Gold last season, and he spent Friday night skating far away from Boston on a dominant World Cup line for Team Canada with Patrice Bergeron and Sidney Crosby. Both of those things have added to the 28-year-old’s value as he heads into a potential free agent walk season, and his representation is in present talks with Bruins management about a contract extension.
Given the premium cost of goal-scoring around the NHL, Marchand wouldn’t be out of bounds asking for the same $7-7.5 million annual salary that peers like Bobby Ryan and Zach Parise have earned in free agency over the last few years. The 5-foot-9, 183-pounder would also certainly want a long term deal in the 7-8 year range with the Bruins which could bring a realistic contract extension into the neighborhood of $49-60 million when it’s all said and done.
So it would be a massive commitment from the Bruins for a gifted scorer that also plays on the edge, but Marchand is also a guy that plays in all situations while filling the vital role as right-hand man to Bergeron. For all those reasons along with the 153 goals he’s scored over his six full seasons, Cam Neely told CSN this week that they have let Marchand know that signing the left winger is one of the club’s biggest priorities prior to this season.
“We’d like to get Brad signed. We’ve made that clear to him, and we’ve made that clear to his agency. I know Don has been working with their group to a get a deal done,” said Neely on CSN’s Great American Hockey Show podcast. “We’d like to get something done before the start of the season.”
That makes all the sense in the world since Marchand’s price tag is only going to move north as he moves closer to free agency at the end of this season, and the pressure will concurrently mount on a Bruins team that can’t afford to lose another elite player from their core group.
Marchand spoke about his contract status a week ago while quickly darting in and out of Boston prior to the World Cup getting going, and was complimentary of the B’s while keeping his negotiating cards close to his agitating vest.
“This is an incredible organization, and one that we’re all very fortunate to be a part of,” said Marchand, who would only say his agent and the Bruins “are talking” and that he hoped they ‘could figure something out.’ “It would be great to be here my whole career, and you see how rare that is nowadays. It doesn’t happen often, so that would be incredible. But a lot of things have to line up in order for that to happen not only now, but down the road. So, we’ll play it year-by-year. I’m really excited about the upcoming season and what is ahead. I think we’ve got a couple of new additions that are really going to help our team.
“Guys are really hungry after missing the playoffs again last year. First and foremost this year is on my end and we’ll deal with the years after that down the road.”
Marchand clearly didn’t want to give away any negotiating ground in his comments, but it’s fairly obvious where his long term loyalty sits when he was a major recruiting voice in the pursuit of both David Backes and Jimmy Vesey. One worked out and one didn’t for the Black and Gold, but in both cases No. 63 showed how committed he is to the betterment of his current employer. Those are the kinds of actions that speak to a player that wants to keep on wearing the Spoked B for a good, long time to come.
The good news is that the B’s are bound and determined to lock up Marchand before the puck drops on the season on Oct. 13, but the hard part will be closing on the kind of major deal that’s tripped up Boston a bit over the last couple of years.