One of the main reasons Sabres fans don’t like Boston? Their players.
The likes of Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Shawn Thornton have gotten under the skin of pretty much every fan of the team playing the Bruins. It’s only worse for Northeast Division foes who are assured of six matchups a year.
But none of those guys above come close to garnering the disdain that Brad Marchand does.
Checking in at a thoroughly unimpressive 5’9″, Marchand has turned into one of the league’s best pests. The pest label came in full force after his memorable, unimpeded pummeling of Daniel Sedin in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
Today, Marchand signed a four-year, $18 million extension with the Bruins.
While many may hate the fact that the Sabres are assured to play Marchand six times a year for the next five years, there is a worse, and much more short-term consequence of the extension: Tyler Ennis.
Ennis still has yet to sign as a restricted free agent, and his leverage in negotiations has certainly increased in the past few hours. Many had pointed to Marchand’s previous contract signed prior to last season for two years, $5 million. Ennis’ injuries this season are the only thing that kept him from putting up close to 60 points as Marchand did, and Marchand’s 55 point campaign last season earned him a $2 million raise.
There are slight differences between the two players’ circumstances contractually, with Ennis still being on his entry-level deal and Marchand working off of his second contract, but in terms of the on-ice comparison, they are as similar as can be. Not that Ennis is a pest of course, but they both are small and fast and find open ice extremely well, opening up opportunities for themselves and their line mates.
So, basically, the Bruins just threw a huge wrench in Darcy Regier’s bargaining power.
With the CBA uncertainty growing to a fever pitch, there may simply be a request from Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula to not sign Ennis until after a deal is struck. But regardless, this is not positive for the Sabres if they wanted to get Ennis cheap.
Ennis is a huge part of the Sabres’ future, and he deserves to be rewarded for that, but with the cap uncertainty and a potential limit on the number of years a deal can be signed for, it may be too risky for the Sabres to sign him to a Marchand-like deal.
Not that Ennis will be taking his talents anywhere in the NHL. The Sabres will be signing him at some point. The big question now, unfortunately, is how cheap are they going to get him?