(Source: Boston.com) – Brad Marchand continues to put his suspension in the rear-view mirror. Heading into the 2015-16 season, the Bruins’ coaching and management staff were looking at Marchand as someone who they wanted to see step up and develop into a bigger role with the club. The Bruins weren’t looking for Marchand, who’d scored 20 goals in each of his past three seasons, to increase his offensive input, although they wouldn’t complain if he did. Instead, they were looking for Marchand to become more of a leader—both on and off the ice.
If we’re wondering whether the Bruins are going to move Loui Eriksson by the trade deadline in an effort to vastly upgrade their blue line Brad Marchand is doing his best to help Don Sweeney answer that question.
Just this past Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres our buddy Marchand scored this beauty:
Just an absolute dangle-snipe combo executed to perfection. The goal was the 8th in as many games for Marchand (23rd on the season) as he continues to get it done. Although unlikely to happen, you can’t ignore the fact that he is now on pace for a 39 goal season. In short, Marchand has been spectacular.
That same 8 game hot streak Marchand is riding also coincides with recent news that the Bruins are in preliminary contract talks with Loui Eriksson. Unfortunately for Loui in those same 8 games he’s only mustered a mere 2 assists while maintaining about 20 minutes of ice time per game. That’s not exactly selling yourself the way you like.
We all know Loui is still a very important Bruin right now despite what stats the score sheet credits him with. He is used in almost any situation, be it on the penalty or on the power play. His smart play and dependability is still highly valued by Claude Julien. But Brad Marchand is also versatile enough to be used in the same situations too. And he’s also producing points.
Brad Marchand has essentially sold to Bruins management where the future money needs to be spent. It needs to go to him. He’s only 27-years-old (three years younger than Eriksson) and is still on the books next year at a $4.5 million cap hit. With Eriksson set to become an aging unrestricted free agent come July 1st the Bruins can not hand Loui a six-year, $6 million per, golden parachute deal. That coin would be better invested in Marchand.
I’d love for Loui to remain a Bruin. I think he likes it in Boston and he does so many things on the ice in so many different situations that he would be difficult to replace. But if he’s steadfast on getting one last lifetime achievement huge payday then the Bruins need to pass. If he’s willing to take a shorter term deal to remain in Boston at a fair market value price then lock him up.
But as of now Brad Marchand has proven to be the winger that’s deserving of that money. After the upcoming 2016-2017 season comes to an end any 6×6 deal should be headed his way. In fact, I’m sure it’s already been drafted and sits in an executive office safe just waiting for Marchand’s signature come the summer of 2017.