It was the ultimate rags to riches story during the Bruins’ 2010-11 Stanley Cup championship season, and now it may lead to even more riches.
The tale of Brad Marchand was almost as magical as the Bruins’ entire Cup run.
He showed up at training camp without a job, earned a spot on the fourth line, earned a midseason promotion to the second line and after scoring 21 goals in the regular season he added 11 more in the playoffs, including two in the Cup-clinching Game 7 victory.
Now as a restricted free agent, Marchand figures to become a multi-millionaire. And then he’ll have to continue to produce in order to earn those clams.
The Bruins are more than happy to fork over some extra cash after Marchand helped them end a 39-year drought.
Regular season: 77 GP, 21-20-41, plus-25
Playoffs: 25 GP, 11-8-19, plus-12
Contract status: Scheduled RFA July 1
Best regular-season moment: Marchand’s 20th goal of the season and first in 13 games was a big one March 27 in Philadelphia. Against one of the Bruins’ biggest rivals, Marchand scored on the power play with just 3:43 left in regulation to lift Boston to a 2-1 win that clinched the club a playoff berth.
Best playoff moment: While scoring twice in Game 7 against Vancouver was historic and his game-winning goal in Game 5 vs. Tampa Bay was a momentum-changer, Marchand didn’t score a playoff goal bigger than his shorthanded tally against the Canucks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
With the Bruins down 2-0 in the series and leading the game just 2-0 in the second period (without Nathan Horton), Marchand turned a penalty kill into a scoring opportunity that ended with a highlight-reel goal that saw him abuse Hart Trophy nominee Daniel Sedin, eventual Selke Trophy winner Ryan Kesler and Vezina Trophy finalist Roberto Luongo (not to mention defenseman Alex Edler) for a 3-0 lead en route to an 8-1 win.
Worst moment: March was a rough month for Marchand, who picked up a two-game suspension for his hit to the head of Columbus’ R.J. Umberger. But it didn’t get lower for the rookie than March 11 on Long Island, where head coach Claude Julien got so fed up with Marchand taking a bad penalty against the Islanders and in a previous game against Buffalo that the coach benched the forward for the entire third period.
Regular-season grade: B-plus
Playoff grade: A-minus. There were a couple questionable penalties along the way that were the only negatives in an amazing postseason for Marchand.
Carnac predicts … the Bruins find a way to lock up RFA Marchand long term and make him a part of their foundation along with Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic.