Saturday, September 8, 2012

Does Marchand Deserve to be the Fourth-Highest Paid Bruin?

The 5'9" scrapper from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Brad Marchand, just received a 4-year, $18 million extension from the Boston Bruins.  "Nose Face Killah" has become a staple on the Bruins second line alongside Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin since the 2011 Stanley Cup run.  But does he really deserve the deal he just received?

Marchand's new deal makes him the fourth-highest paid player behind the captain Zdeno Chara, estranged goalie Tim Thomas and Bergeron.  He's just 24 years old, and compliments the flash his line provides well.  He finished last season fifth in plus/minus rating, getting beat by his own teammates -- Bergeron, Seguin, Chara and Chris Kelly respectively.

In the 2011 postseason, Marchand came into his own, providing 11 goals and 8 assists over 25 games.  He continued his success into the 2011-12 season, grabbing 55 points (28 G, 27 A), and with the entire Bruins roster remaining almost exactly how it was last season, he has the potential to duplicate those numbers.  With Seguin's emergence, I would argue its not too far off to say that he will score over 40 goals this season, and with Marchand along for the ride, it seems we won't need to worry about our point supply running out.

One detraction from Marchand's game is the decisions he can make when he lets his emotions get the best of him.  His Napoleon complex takes center stage when he takes on teams like the Canadiens and Canucks.  His physical style makes him the player that he is, but if he can't keep himself in check, he may lose some minutes.

When looking at the other top end players on the Boston roster, like the B's top line of David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic, it could be argued they are worth more money than Marchand.  But with Krejci's unpredictability, Horton still struggling to find his groove after his concussion streak and Lucic being a wrecking ball who's offense comes mostly from garbage points, Marchand seems to be a more well-rounded player, as crazy as that sounds.

Brad Marchand is worth the money, if he just keeps his head low and works with his linemates to get under the skin of opponents with his skills, not his hip checks.

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