The Bruins remain in discussions with left winger Brad Marchand on a long-term contract extension, reports CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty. Team president Cam Neely had the following to say about their talks:
“We’d like to get Brad signed. We’ve made that clear to him, and we’ve made that clear to his agency. I know Don has been working with their group to a get a deal done. We’d like to get something done before the start of the season.”
Marchand is coming off a career season where he recorded 37 goals and 24 assists in 77 games while averaging 18:36 per game. His goal total ranked him sixth in the league. His strong year helped earn him a spot on Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey where he is currently slotted on the top line alongside teammate Patrice Bergeron and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.
Earlier this offseason, Marchand commented on negotiations and indicated that he would like to stick with the Bruins for the long term:
“It would be great to be here my whole career, and you see how rare that is nowadays. It doesn’t happen often, so that would be incredible. But a lot of things have to line up in order for that to happen not only now, but down the road. So, we’ll play it year-by-year.”
The 28 year old is entering the final season of a four year contract that carries a cap hit of $4.5MM and will pay him $5MM in salary. Needless to say, he is looking at getting a big raise on a lengthy contract.
Boston’s highest paid player in terms of AAV is David Krejci who is in the second season of a six year deal with a cap hit of $7.25MM per season. With the season Marchand just had, it wouldn’t be surprising if it takes more money than that to get a deal done. If that happens, the team would have at least four players signed for 2017-18 with a cap hit of $6.875MM or more (the others being center Patrice Bergeron and goalie Tuukka Rask).
Boston already has a little less than $54MM committed to 14 players beyond this season according to Cap Friendly so a big extension for Marchand could potentially present some challenges filling out the rest of their roster next offseason (particularly with both Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak being restricted free agents). However, in the cap era, teams are spending more money building around their core talent and then using cheaper options to fill the final few spots on the roster which is an avenue that the Bruins would likely take if a deal gets done.