When teams win, every player is appreciated in some way, shape or form. Even Tomas Kaberle ended up positively impacting Boston’s Stanley Cup run with a big assist on Michael Ryder‘s first goal of Game 4 against the Canadiens, and when the Cup was raised, all was forgiven.
When teams lose, it’s a different animal, and underperforming players might have reason to worry about their future.
Of the Bruins’ biggest names under contract, Brad Marchand might be most likely to hear his name pop up in trade chatter. He’s relatively young (26) and on a pretty good contract (three more years with a $4.5 million cap hit in each), but after an up-and-down regular season and a goose-egg in the goal column for the entire postseason, his future with the Bruins is no sure thing. If there is a bigger move for Peter Chiarelli to make, Marchand would be a logical candidate to be moved.
This isn’t the first time Marchand’s had to wonder about whether his time with the B’s was coming to an end. When Tyler Seguin was traded last summer, Marchand wondered if he might be on the move too. On Friday, he reiterated that point and said he hopes to stay in Boston.
“A guy as talented as Segs gets traded at such an early age and it’s an eye-opener for everyone,” Marchand said. “I don’t know. Hopefully I’m not going anywhere, but that’s up to management and the coaching staff. I guess we’ll see.”
Though Marchand is viewed universally as a pest, he’s one of Boston’s best players when at the top of his game. A plus two-way player, Marchand is fast, has underrated hands and kills penalties.
Yet when factoring in Marchand’s quiet end to the last postseason, the pesky forward has now gone 20 playoff games without a goal. That’s not good enough for a player who should be expected to score 25 to 30 goals a season (he scored 25 this season after recovering from a dreadful start that saw him score just three goals in the first 25 games of the season).
“It’s very tough,” Marchand said of his postseason shortcomings. “You really want to perform and help the team. Playoff time is when you need to be big and you need to produce. I wasn’t able to accomplish that this year. I’ll have to focus even harder for next year.”
Marchand was the victim of a horrendous call in Game 7 of the second round of the Canadiens, as he was called for goaltender interference when Andrei Markov cross-checked him in the head, sending him into Carey Price.
As frustrating as that “reputation call” may have been, Marchand — admittedly, to his credit — has earned the reputation to get those bad calls. Reputation calls aren’t given to players who take a lot of penalties; they’re given to players who get away with a lot of stuff that refs don’t always see, such as his punch to the head of Tomas Plekanec before a faceoff that went uncalled.
“It’s frustrating, but I dug that hole for myself and I’ve got to live with it,” Marchand said after Game 7.
If the Bruins were to move Marchand, it would be interesting to see what kind of return he would yield. After being eliminated by the speedier Canadiens and assuming they’ll have to face them at some point most years in the playoffs with the new playoff format, Boston should be in no hurry to remove more speed from its top two lines.
Still, depending on what the B’s could get back and whether it could save them some money against the cap (re-signing Jarome Iginla to anything but a one-year, bonus-laden deal seems to be their only bet at retaining Iginla unless they shed salary), anything might be worth exploring for Chiarelli.