With the July 1 free agency date looming, the Boston Bruins have some work to do to get under the $69 million salary cap for next season. With plenty of free agents, both restricted and unrestricted left off the roster, the players currently under contract might just be smart to look over their shoulder. One such player is the oft-maligned Brad Marchand. With his name coming up earlier this offseason in a trade involving the San Jose Sharks‘ Patrick Marleau, I felt that a trade like that would instead hurt the Bruins’ chances at winning another Stanley Cup. But if the right team made the right offer, Boston should consider dealing the young winger.
When Marchand was at his best, during his rookie campaign of 2010-11, he played with speed and snarl that made him one of the most-hated players around the NHL. But with that being said, he endeared himself to Bruins fans for his tenacity and pugnaciousness. And yet Marchand also had a scoring touch that made him a threat alongside Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. In Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vancouver Canucks, Marchand scored twice in sealing the victory for the B’s. After such an impressive debut, Marchand has cooled off and let his words do more of the talking than his actions.
It is because Marchand plays on the edge that the Bruins would love to keep him and other teams would love to have him. But a major factor that hinges upon considering any trades involving Marchand is his ability to put the puck in the net along with agitating the other team. He struggled mightily this postseason to do that, hitting countless posts and whiffing on wide open nets.
If there are any suitors in the league looking for a player like Marchand, the Bruins would like to get a scoring winger with a killer instinct in goal scoring in return. Playing alongside Bergeron and Reilly Smith a year ago, Marchand was by far the weakest link. A young, left-handed shooting scorer with a market-value contract would fit nicely on that line if Claude Julien were to keep it intact next season. Marleau is certainly a scorer, but his age is by far his biggest weakness when it comes to a potential trade. Someone in their early 20s looking for a new start, similar to the situation Marchand would inherit, would be the ideal trade partner for the Bruins.