Mar 19, 2016; Boston, MA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) before a face-off of a NHL game in the TD Garden. The Panthers won 4-1. Credit: Brian Fluharty/ Inside Hockey.

Bruins Should Bend – Not Break – Bank for Marchand

The Boston Bruins have developed a notorious history of overpaying players that have not lived up to expectations. For the most part, that is due to the unconditional love placed on the skaters by the B’s organization itself.

Over the years, the Bruins have had a very difficult time parting ways with some not-so-key guys. As a result, they had to make the checkbooks a little less full in order to make the locker room a little less empty. That is all well and good if upper management makes the correct call on keeping the right players and giving those guys some security (both in length and salary) to remain with the team.

Brad Marchand is the next guy on the B’s roster that is due for a pay day. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season. Marchand scored 37 goals in 2015-16 after missing five games in the middle of the year due to a suspension. The National Hockey League is quickly becoming familiar with Marchand and his skillset; he plays with an edge, he is incredibly durable, and he is evolving into one of the better two-way players in the league.

However, let’s pump the breaks for just a minute. There have been rumors out there that Marchand should be getting paid in the vicinity with the top left wingers in the league. Point blank, that would be a mistake.

If, and potentially when, Marchand signs his extension with the Bruins, it will not kick in until the start of the 2017-18 season. At that point, the top-three, highest paid left wingers in the NHL will be Alex Ovechkin ($9.53 million), Jamie Benn ($9.5 million), and Rick Nash ($7.8 million). With Marchand registering 153 goals and 289 points in 454 career games at the NHL level, he has not exactly earned that status to be included as equals—on paper—with the likes of Ovechkin and Benn.

Even though most contracts are earned on a “What have you done for me recently?” basis, one has to wonder if last season was an aberration. Is Marchand really a near 40-goal scorer, or is he more like the 26.6 goals per 82 games type of player that he has been for the past five seasons? The answer to that question may not come until the end of the 2016-17 campaign.

It had been reported that the Bruins are already in discussions with Marchand in regards to a contract extension. The inclination is that the 28-year-old will be seeking a seven-year deal worth $49 million.

Now since we are dealing with the Bruins, we should not be surprised if this type of overpayment occurred. However, it is not that steep of an overpayment considering what Marchand would get on the open market. To put things into perspective, Milan Lucic will log a capt hit of $6 million per year by the Edmonton Oilers and he was coming off a somewhat down year with the Los Angeles Kings. Marchand should absolutely seek a contract that pays him over $6 million per year.

If that ends up happening, then Marchand will be put in the same class with the likes of Joe Pavelski, Loui Eriksson, and Jordan Eberle. Despite his incredibly productive season, that is where he belongs and he should not be placed in a category that would allow him to get paid significantly more than Patrice Bergeron. At $6.875 million, Bergeron’s contract benefits the team heavily in relation to what he does on the ice.

Marchand would be great in Boston long term and he undoubtedly deserves a contract extension. The Bruins should extend themselves for this player, but should not put themselves in cap jail to do so.