Marchand/By S. Bradley

Regardless of what the new Collective Bargaining Agreement looks like, Brad Marchand will not be a restricted free agent next summer.

The Bruins today made sure of that by signing the speedy winger to a four-year extension worth $4.5 million annually starting in the 2013-14 season.

Marchand will make $2.5 million this season in year two of his current two-year deal.

By making this move now, the Bruins are making sure they don’t go through another contentious negotiation with Marchand and his representatives next summer. They are also banking on Marchand continuing to flourish as both a goal-scorer (he has scored 21 and 28 goals, respectively, in his first two full NHL seasons) and an agitator who can be effective without harming his own team. Marchand made strides in the discipline department last season, but failed in both departments during the Bruins’ first-round loss to Washington. He scored just one goal and failed to get under the Capitals’ skin while also putting on a diving exhibition in one game that brought some shame to an organization that prides itself on avoiding such shenanigans.

It’s been widely reported over the last week that the Bruins are also trying to get a new deal done with Tyler Seguin, who is also scheduled to be a RFA next summer, along with Milan Lucic. The CBA is set to expire Sept. 15, at which time a lockout is expected. So there’s a bit of a race against the clock to get guys signed under the current rules. There could also be a salary rollback of some sort in the new rules that would make some of the rich deals the Bruins and other teams have been handing out a little less eye-popping.