Brad Marchand was one of the Bruins’ playoff heroes last season as they rode great goaltending and timely scoring all the way to the Stanley Cup. Marchand scored 21 goals and 20 assists in the regular season as one of the more surprising rookies to burst onto the scene throughout the course of the 2010-11 season. The timing couldn’t have been better for the Halifax, Nova Scotia native as it just happened to be the last year of his entry-level contract. Needless to say, he was looking at a sizeable raise from his first contract that paid him $821,667 per season (cap hit). But how big would the raise be?
Two months after Boston’s Stanley Cup parade, neither the Bruins, nor Team Marchand has any idea.
As the vast majority of free agents have signed on the dotted line (both restricted and unrestricted), Marchand and the Bruins have been unable to come to an agreement to put the 5’9” pest back in a Bruins uniform. CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty tracked down Marchand’s agent, Wade Arnott, to get an update on the contract negotiations.
“Discussions with the Bruins remain open and ongoing regarding Brad, but nothing is imminent.”
“[I’m] hopeful, but it’s no sure thing,” said Arnott, casting the slightest shed of doubt that Marchand’s signing is an automatic.
The Bruins former 3rd round pick has modest career totals: 21 goals and 21 assists in 97 career games. But during the playoffs last season, he made sure fans outside of the Boston area took note. By the time all was said and done, he was second in playoff goal scoring (11) and 6th in playoff points with 19. It all adds up to a significant raise.
Haggerty continues with his projections on what Marchand’s next contract could look like:
“Indications are that the Bruins are looking to sign Marchand for a two-year deal in the $2.5 million per season neighborhood that would keep the B’s rabble-rouser a restricted free agent under Boston’s control at the end of his next deal.
Restricted free agent Teddy Purcell busted out for 51 points during the regular season and 17 points in the playoffs, and resigned with the Lightning for two years and $4.72 million, which amounts to $2.36 million per season. That’s the closest comparable contract for Marchand given his age, accomplishments and classification as a free agent.
But it also makes perfect sense that Marchand and Co. are pushing for something in the four-year, $12 million range, and a contract that would set him up for unrestricted free agency once his deal has expired.”
Obviously, the Bruins will weigh both term and dollars when negotiating Marchand’s next contract. One of the difficult facets of the negotiation process is the Bruins only have one full season to measure their player—yet must make a longer-term commitment based on the single season. Is he the player who only scored a single point in his first stint with the Bruins in 2009-10? Is the player who scored 41 points in 77 games throughout the 2010-11? Or is he the player who had 11 goals in the playoffs and was one of the offensive leaders for the Stanley Cup champions.
All examples fetch far different contracts on the open market. It’s safe to assume that Marchand will want to be paid like the playoff hero that he was in May and June. Then again, it’s easy to see why the Bruins may be hesitant to offer a long-term contract based on an impressive 25-game stretch—albeit the most important 25-game stretch for Boston hockey in four decades.
Judging by Arnott’s comments, the two sides still have plenty of work to do before the see eye-to-eye on Marchand’s worth.