Coach Claude Julien realizes that he will have to take his squad deeper into the playoffs next season or his position may go up for grabs.
Every team in the NHL will be exploring their opportunities to make a significant trade that could really make an impact on their roster. It is especially important that the Boston Bruins make a few moves in the offseason to bring some speed to the offense.
It is crucial that the Bruins add some scoring power up front, but doing it at the hands of Brad Marchand may not be the solution.
Marchand is a feisty and gritty player, the true definition of a grinder. He has moderate speed on the wing, a talented skill-set and if he gets the puck in the middle of the ice, he has been known to go bar down on goaltenders from time to time. If the Bruins manage to convince Jarome Iginla to give it one more go at a Stanley Cup, then the roster will have only one or two open spots. This gives the Bs room to go out and make a bid for a forward who can be a real threat in the offensive zone.
GM Peter Chiarelli will try to keep the David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Iginla line intact, and on paper, having Chris Kelly centering the two Swede’s, Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg, looks pretty good. Patrice Bergeron will remain at the face-off dot, which leaves him between wingers Reilly Smith and Marchand.
After acquiring Smith last season, you can’t expect Chiarelli to trade away the 23-year-old restricted free agent unless it was a very enticing deal. The Bs already have a considerable amount of cap space, plus they save an additional $4 million by keeping Marc Savard on long-term IR.
Although Marchand has three years remaining on his contract, his lack of production in the playoffs might lead Boston to try and move Marchand elsewhere this offseason.
Teams displayed interest in Marchand last offseason, but if the Bs decided that they did want to move Marchand; he would have to approve the deal due to his limited no-trade clause.
If the Bruins want to get back to the Stanley Cup finals, though, they need to regain the gritty style that they are known for. From Cam Neely to Terry O’Reilly, the Bruins’ success comes from being one of the most dreaded teams to play.
Marchand can get under the skin of opponents, and if he isn’t taking dumb penalties, he is a valuable asset to the Bruins, or wherever he lands.