Summertime isn’t the most exciting time as far as hockey rumors go, especially when the biggest news surrounding the Bruins roster is waiting for unrestricted free-agent and Hobey Baker winner Jimmy Vesey to decide which team he’ll play for next season. However, Brad Marchand has recently made headlines not for his on ice antics, rather what his next contract will look like as a professional hockey player. Marchand is entering the final year of a four-year $18 million dollar deal and will be seeking a significant raise after coming off of a career year in which he scored 37 goals and 60 points.
It’s recently been reported that Marchand is looking for a 7×7 deal, meaning he wants seven years at seven million per, which would end up costing the B’s a total of $49 million. Granted he receives this contract, Marchand will be paid among the likes of teammates David Krejci and Tuukka Rask as well as the Sedin twins and St. Louis Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko. Again, if he ends up getting this contract, it will put somewhat of a strain on the B’s cap space and will most likely force Don Sweeney to trade an impact player since David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner will also be due for new deals after next year.
Although Marchand did prove to the entire NHL he was a dangerous scorer last year, it was his only season in which he scored more than 30 goals. Guys that have contracts in the seven million dollar range are either proven stars or franchise altering type of players. It doesn’t seem like Marchand is in that category just yet since last year was his breakout season, so it might be a better idea to wait and see if he repeats his high scoring pace next season and then sign him in the offseason. Not only would this give Sweeney more time to figure out what to do with all these contracts, it would also give Marchand the opportunity to prove he deserves a top-tier contract. The worst thing that could happen would be to lock him up long-term now and then find out he isn’t worth the dollars and term they are paying him. Waiting an extra season seems like the most logical choice in this case since he hasn’t completely shaken the agitator/borderline-dirty player mantra or cemented his place as a consistent scorer year after year.
The other option that hasn’t been floated around at all is trading Marchand now that his value is at an all time high. Even though this doesn’t make much sense right now, if Marchand proves he isn’t the goal scorer everyone thought, it would be harder to get the same type of players in return if the B’s did decide to trade him later on. While it’s hard to justify this now, it would look like a great move for Sweeney if some other team is paying seven million dollars for a 20-25 goal scorer with a wild side.
Obviously there are a lot of factors that come into play in a situation like this, but at a time where cap space is king and goal scorers come and go, it would be wise for the Bruins to hold off on signing Marchand right now and let him control his own destiny with his play next season. It’s been repeated at nauseum that the B’s finally escaped cap hell and inking Marchand now would bring them right back where they started, so Sweeney should show some patience and let Marchy show he’s grown from a pest to a leader.