Neely: Bruins aim to sign Marchand to extension before season begins

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If you want to be a core member of an NHL team, it almost feels like a contract year comes one season earlier than it does for fringe players.

Naturally, there are some players who straddle that line, and they may feel as if they face two contract years.

The reasoning is simple: teams can re-sign a player with a season remaining on a current contract, so important pieces often nab extensions at almost the first opportunity. It sounds like the Boston Bruins would prefer to go that route with Brad Marchand.

Cam Neely said as much during an appearance on CSN’s Great American Hockey Show podcast.

“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 (GM Don Sweeney) has been working with their group to a get a deal done,” Neely said. “We’d like to get something done before the start of the season.”

Risk and reward

Of course, the Bruins and Marchand must find the right compromise regarding timing and value.

During Bruins day, PHT broke down the many variables that factor into what Marchand’s contract might look like. It’s possible that the pesky-yet-talented winger might want a lengthy contract coming in at $7 million per season, which would nudge him ahead of elite two-way center Patrice Bergeron.

As that post asked, would the Bruins really make that kind of commitment to a guy whose mischief occasionally outweighs his production?

Marchand’s side

In case you’re wondering, Marchand’s more or less said all the right things about contract negotiations without really tipping his hand.

Another big season could generate an even bigger financial windfall for Marchand than signing early, but his pugnacious style might also elevate the risk of injuries or suspensions. Missing time would make his breakthrough 2015-16 season (37 goals, 60 points) look like more of an outlier.

To some extent, it’s a game of chicken for Marchand in particular: do you possibly take less money for more security or swing for the financial fences?

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Barring a major injury or other unexpected circumstances, the 28-year-old is virtually assured a huge raise from his bargain $4.5 million cap hit. It merely boils down to how much money, how many years and where he’ll end up.

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