4:35 PM: The Bruins have now made Marchand’s return official. Per the team release, Marchand has been activated off of injured reserve.
In a corresponding move, the Bruins have assigned defenseman Mike Reilly to the AHL’s Providence Bruins, clearing the open roster spot needed to facilitate Marchand’s return. Reilly has previously cleared waivers and will head to Providence having played in all seven of the Bruins’ games this season. Reilly has one assist in those seven games and is playing on a $3MM cap hit that expires in the summer of 2024.
10:19 AM: It was all a ruse, apparently. After telling reporters just yesterday that Brad Marchand wasn’t ready to return, head coach Jim Montgomery has informed reporters including Conor Ryan of the Boston Sports Journal that the veteran winger will indeed play tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. Marchand won’t travel with the team for tomorrow’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, as they ease him into the lineup.
Marchand, 34, was originally scheduled to be out until Thanksgiving, meaning his return tonight is a month ahead of the original plan. It did seem as though they were ready for this when he skated yesterday on the top line, powerplay unit, and even led the stretch.
While he may not be playing in both halves of a back-to-back for the next little while, getting Marchand back in the mix is a huge boost for the Bruins, who are already playing well. The team is 6-1 through the early part of the season and has an early grip on the top of the Atlantic Division. Adding a player who has had six straight seasons of production well over a point per game should only help the team continue to dominate.
The team will have to make a corresponding roster move to activate Marchand, and it isn’t entirely clear what that will be. Nick Foligno and Mike Reilly did clear waivers earlier this month, but otherwise, there aren’t any players who are exempt.