Leading up to the start of the season, New England Hockey
Journal will be taking a look ahead to 2013-14 with a series of
Bruins player previews throughout September. Today, we're
predicting what's in store for the Bruins' leading scorer last
season, Brad Marchand.
HEIGHT: 5-foot-9 WEIGHT: 183 SHOOTS: Left
BORN: May 11, 1988 – Halifax, Nova Scotia
DRAFT: 2006 – 3rd round (71st overall) by the Boston Bruins
CONTRACT STATUS: Signed through 2016-17 ($4.5 million cap hit)
2012-13 STATISTICS: 18 goals, 18 assists, 36 points, plus-23 in 45 games
LOOKING BACK ON 2013
No one would call you crazy if you said it felt like every shot Brad Marchand took during the first half of the 2013 season found the back of the net. No. 63 began the lockout-shortened campaign on fire, notching 12 goals in his first 19 tilts to help Boston surge out of the gate.
While his torrid scoring pace, as would be expected, couldn’t be maintained the rest of the way, the B’s super-pest finished the year as Boston’s leader in goals (18), points (36), power-play tallies (4), shorthanded markers (2) and game-winners (5).
After a quiet start to the postseason, Marchand began the second round with back-to-back two-point efforts to help the Bruins jump out to a 2-0 series lead over the Rangers. He added a pair of goals and assists in the conference finals.
Marchand went cold in the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago, however. He was held pointless in six contests.
1. Despite playing in just 218 games to date, Marchand ranks 14th among a star-studded group of 2006 draftees with 67 goals.
2. During the 2011 Cup run, Marchand tied Bay State native Jeremy Roenick for the second-most goals by a rookie in NHL playoff history with 11 tallies.
3. Among qualifying players, Marchand ranked sixth in the NHL with a 19.8 shooting percentage in 2013, scoring 18 times on just 91 shots.
4. No one’s scored more goals for the Bruins over the past three seasons than Marchand (67).
5. Marchand’s draft rights (71st overall) were traded twice before his selection in 2006. The pick went from Phoenix to the Islanders before being flipped to Boston for a pair of selections that turned into James DeLory (fourth round) and Shane Sims (fifth round). Sims is the only one to have reached the NHL, as he played in one game for the Islanders in 2010-11.
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2013-14
The 2013-14 campaign will be the first year of Marchand’s new four-year contract, which he agreed to prior to the lockout commencing last fall. The feisty forward has improved his points-per-game average every season as an NHLer, so there’s no reason to expect anything but a great year from Boston’s second-line left wing.
Marchand will be in his familiar spot, flanking do-it-all center Patrice Bergeron, but the two will have a new partner on the right side in Loui Eriksson, the centerpiece of the deal that sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas. Eriksson’s two-way game bodes well for the line at both ends of the rink, but the Swede is much more of a playmaker than Seguin was. That should definitely pay dividends for a player like Marchand that’s evolved into a great shooter, and whose stick-handling abilities near the goal can oftentimes be something to truly marvel at. The quicker the three can develop chemistry, the better.
Meanwhile, expect Marchand to remain a member of the penalty-kill rotation. No. 63 has ranked sixth among Boston forwards in each of the last three seasons in shorthanded time on ice and led the way with eight goals while Boston’s been on the PK during that stretch.
PREDICTION FOR 2013-14
While I’d hate to go overboard and reach for the stars here, I can’t help but expect great things from Boston’s reconfigured top six and feel like Eriksson will complement Marchand and Bergeron perfectly on the second line. Marchand’s improved across the board through three full NHL seasons and, at the age of 25, is poised to be just as good or better during the upcoming campaign.
PREDICTION: 31 goals, 30 assists, 61 points, plus-34 in 80 games