The Boston Bruins announced Friday that they have signed forward Brad Marchand to a four year contract worth $4.5 million per year.
Just days after signing first round draft pick, Malcom Subban, to an entry-level contract, the Bruins were at it again. The team signed forward Brad Marchand to a four-year, $18 million contract on Friday, giving the man known as the "Little Ball of Hate" a hefty raise heading into the 2013-14 season.
Marchand, who enjoyed a breakout season with the Bruins last year, tallied career highs in goals (28), assists (27) and points (55), as well as finished fifth in the NHL in plus/minus with a rating of plus-31. Marchand was also an integral part of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run in 2011, racking up 11 goals and 19 points in 25 games to put him second overall in postseason scoring during their run and first among rookies.
“This is a classic case – again, you’ve probably heard it from me before – of the player wanting to be back, us wanting the player back, a player that has been part of our group for a while and a player who’s style of play is part of our identity,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told the team’s website on Friday. “I think you can say that about Brad.”
At the age of 24, Marchand has accomplished as much as many players hope to accomplish in their career – namely, hoisting the Stanley Cup – and he has become a fan-favorite in Boston as well, with his agitating style earning him many nicknames including “Little Ball of Hate.” That style of play, however, is something that Chiarelli certainly had in the back of his mind while thinking of extending the Hammonds Plain, Nova Scotia native.
“We talked about his style of play, and often times that style of play means that his teammates have to back him up,” Chiarelli told reporters. “’March’ can create some havoc, and he’s got his teammates watching his back, so when I see that happen, and I see guys looking out for him, to me that shows one, he’s obviously an integral part of the team, but two, guys are willing to back him up and usually that’s a byproduct of some kind of leadership, when you can walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk.”
So far, for Marchand, he can easily walk the walk and let his numbers do the talking for him. After struggling in his first call up with the Bruins, Marchand returned in the 2010-11 season and had a remarkable rookie year, tallying 41 points in 77 regular-season games, and he was even better in his sophomore campaign, tallying 14 more points in one less game – a career trajectory that Boston is banking on Marchand continuing.
“It’s been a good progression with Brad,” Chiarelli said. “When he first came up with us, he struggled. He found his footing there the last couple of years, and he’s had some really good years for us, good playoffs, and now he’s entering the next stage of his career.”
With his extension, Marchand now has the third-highest salary among forwards on the Bruins’ roster once the puck drops on the 2013-14 season and has become one of the team’s most important players, averaging 17:37 in ice time last season – only behind Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci – as well as 1:23 on the penalty kill and 2:09 on the power play.
“His style of play, his persona, his timely goals and amount of goals bring a great component to the Bruins’ organization,” Chiarelli told the Boston Herald. “It’s always nice when you sign players to extensions. We say a lot of good things about players, but it’s nice when you sign a player like Brad, who has worked his way up through the organization and played the way we enjoy watching.”
Marchand was heading out to go moose hunting with his father when the news broke, but he released a statement expressing his excitement.
“Being part of this team, it’s like being part of a family. It’s been a long summer without them all and I’m very excited to be with them all here for the next number of years.”
Now that Marchand’s contract is settled, the Bruins will likely turn their attention to the contracts of Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin – both of whom are restricted free agents after the upcoming season. With any luck, however, the Bruins look to have a core locked up that should make them a frightening team to match up against for years to come.
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