You never want to say that a 22-year-old player is entering a make-or-break season, but Brad Marchand’s 2010-11 season could go a long way toward determining whether he has a long future with the organization.
Marchand is entering the final year of his entry-level contract, and will have to show this season that he can build of the experience he accumulated as an occasionally-used call-up to Boston and a Providence (AHL) veteran last season.
Only an injury suffered with the P-Bruins probably cost the 5-foot-9, 187-pound Marchand more time with injury-riddled Boston during the season. In his 20 NHL games, he had his ups and downs and didn’t record a point after he registered an assist in his big-league debut.
Marchand has to continue to mature into a player that knows when to pick his spots as far as agitating and borderline physical play, which is a huge part of his game. His feistiness could be a major asset for the Bruins, who will look at him long and hard as a fourth- or third-line winger this fall. He also needs to improve his decision-making and understand his limitations better, as he found out the hard way a couple times last season that what worked in the AHL doesn’t usually work in the NHL.
Depending on how the Bruins deal with their glut of centers, Marchand could have some stiff competition from some guys shifting over from the middle or he might be in a battle with just two or three other guys for a spot. If he can show in camp and in practices that he can stay sharp when not playing, he could be the big club’s 13th forward at the least.