September 14, 2011

Marchand elated deal is done

by Jesse Connolly

Brad Marchand had 19 points in 25 playoff games for the Bruins. (Getty)

As week after week passed throughout the summer with no news on a new contract for Brad Marchand, many began to worry about the young, playoff hero's future in Boston. The scrappy winger, however, never had any doubts he'd be back.

Marchand and the Bruins agreed to a two-year deal on Wednesday, just two days before the official start of training camp. He will earn $2 million in 2011-12 and $3 million in 2012-13, averaging out to a cap hit of $2.5 million per season.

“It took a little while, but I’m very happy to have signed Brad for two years,” general manager Peter Chiarelli said via conference call. “He was a terrific performer in the playoffs, a clutch performer, loves to play and plays on the edge. We’re really excited to have him with the Bruins for two more years.

“I told Brad today that at the end of last year he said he’d score 20 goals, he scored more than that and I told him I was proud of him and that he deserved this. He’s a good kid and we’re happy to have him in the mix.”

Asked if he was starting to get a little nervous, as he and agent Wade Arnott cut negotiations awfully close to the start of camp, Marchand said he was simply anxious to get the deal done and that he never fathomed any sort of holdout.

“From the get-go, I never wanted to miss a day of camp,” Marchand said. “I wanted to be here on the first day. I wanted to show everyone I wanted to be here, go through camp with the guys and be part of the team. I’m very happy that it didn’t have to come down to that.”

That commitment was extremely evident to Chiarelli in their dealings.

“Brad has always told me he wants to be here and wants to be part of the Bruins,” the GM said. “I had a feeling it would get done. It’s nice to finish this business before camp because if you fall behind in camp, it’s hard to catch up.”

While the masses agree that the $2.5 million price tag is fair for both sides, many wonder what took so long to finally come to terms. As has been the case for many of his fellow general managers, negotiating a deal with a player coming off of an entry-level contract presented some hurdles.

“These deals that come off of entry-level deals, they’re hard deals to negotiate for both sides,” the GM said. “There’s an element of when they don’t have a year of arbitration. There’s sticking point along the negotiations. You’ve seen some other players that have waited this long.

“It’s an area in the CBA where it’s a tough negotiating time for the player with that status. Brad had a terrific year and a terrific playoffs. It’s not a reflection on the Bruins, on us or on Brad, it’s just where he was in his career in regard to the CBA. You see it happening everywhere across the league.”

But now that the saga is finally over, both sides are extremely pleased with the end result.

“In these negotiations, you talk about a lot of different things and we did with this one. We found that this term was probably best for both parties,” Chiarelli said, as a two-year deal will see Marchand hit restricted free agent status again at the end of the contract.

“It gives some security. It gives Brad the ability to come back in a couple years and negotiate with us again.”