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With the salary cap going up, major talent hitting Free Agency, and super star players demanding a trade, this off-season promises to be an interesting one. With rumors recently coming up, it seems as though Bruins’ GM Peter Chiarelli is already discussing major moves for the Black and Gold.
According to Jimmy Murphy of XNSPorts, the Bruins and Sharks have discussed a possible trade involving pesky winger Brad Marchand and veteran scorer Patrick Marleau. He said no details regarding the specifics of the trade have been talked about yet, but that this is definitely something worth monitoring.
It’s no secret that the Bruins have some issues to address this off-season, one of them being to get some speed and scoring up front. Marleau certainly answers those questions. The team will also likely have some cap issues when it comes to resigning their players, so it seems a shake-up is necessary. However, as talented as he is, is taking on an aging veteran with a big cap hit the answer? Let’s take a look.
If you ask me, Marleau is one of the most underrated players in the league. His name is rarely brought up in discussions of best players in the league, but every year his numbers have consistently been among league leaders. He’s scored 30+ goals in 7 of the last 8 full seasons with a goal-high of 44 and point-high of 86. He loves to shoot the puck and he’s good for at least ten powerplay goals a season.
We all saw what happened against Montreal and the year before against Chicago: we got bested by teams who were faster and more skilled compared to the Bruins rough and tumble style of hockey. Marleau, a two time Olympic Gold Medal winner, has speed and a quick release as his best assets and his stats back that up.
The Sharks have tried over and over again to take the same line-up into the playoffs and have failed over and over again. Do I think Marchand’s a better player that Marleau? No. But this trade still make sense for them as well. In Marchand, the Sharks would get a “little ball of hate” who adds some intensity and the pest factor to their lineup. It also sends a message to their players that the Sharks won’t stand for any more early playoff exits.
Marleau is going to make $6.66 million for each of the next four years. As I already mentioned, the Bruins are going to be tight against the cap as it is and it’s not like Chiarelli to take on a contract like this. Also, in Marchand they lose a bit of grit, penalty killing abilities, and chemistry with linemate Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron and Marchand formed one of the most dynamic duos on the PK this year both in killing penalties and scoring shorthanded goals.
Patrick Marleau isn’t a defensive liability or afraid of body contact, but he’s not someone that would be killing penalties in key situations for the Bruins this year and one of the knocks on him is that he doesn’t use his size as well as he could. He’s a great player, but not the protoypical “Bruins” player.
One of my other concerns is this: as talented as he is and as good as his stats have been over the last ten years, there’s something more to take into consideration. He has played on a line that whole time with the best playmaker of this generation of players: Joe Thornton. Bergy and David Krejci are no slouches, but neither of them can be a match for Thornton when it comes to pure passing ability. What happens to Marleau’s production when you take that away from him?
I’m typically opposed to bringing in big contracts like that, but I would actually support this deal depending on who else is involved. Even without the possible Marleau trade, the Bruins are going to have to move some pieces around to make it work. Where does Marleau fit on the roster? Assuming Iginla re-signs, I would actually put Marleau on Krejci’s line and move Iginla to Bergy’s line. That way, Krejci gets to play with a pure goal scrorer again and Bergeron gets some more physicality on his line in Iginla.
But you would also likely see Adam McQuiad and maybe even Johnny Boychuk moved. I love Boychuk, but the numbers just don’t work. The only problem is, this might mean they have to sign Bartkowski to fill in that roster spot. Here’s what the roster might look like come September:
Lucic Krejci Marleau
Smith Bergeron Iginla
Spooner Soderberg ErikssonPaille Campbell Camara
How do you feel about this team? I really like that forward group, but that defense makes me worry. You also have to factor in which young guys like Florek, Fraser, Caron, Khokhlachev, Knight, Lindblad, Trotman, or Morrow make the team.
It’s also worth noting that Chiarelli has come out this morning to deny that he has discussed this deal. Is this one of those GM strategies to not reveal their hand? Or is he disputing a rumor that simply isn’t true? Either way, it’s fun to think about.