BOSTON, MA — Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli said that the re-signing of Brad Marchand came down to a simple equation.
"This is a classic case — again, you’ve probably heard it from me before — of the player wanting to be back, us wanting the player back, a player that has been part of our group for a while, and a player who’s style of play is part of our identity," said Chiarelli to BostonBruins.com of Marchand's new four-year contract extension through the 2016-17 season (worth an average of $4.5 million annually). "I think you can say all of those things about Brad.
Marchand Signed Through 2016-17
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"He’s an agitator, and he’s an offensive player at the same time. He’s an aggressive player, and he’s still a young player, so we’re happy to get him signed, and we’re going to have him for five more years, this upcoming year and four more."
Marchand's tenacity is now legendary in Boston, where the shift-disturbing forward has achieved near folk hero status during his two-plus seasons with the Bruins.
Obviously, some of that is the Black & Gold's "hard to play against" mentality that Marchand personifies, but there's much more than being "a brat" (B's Head Coach Claude Julien's word) in Brad.
"First and foremost he works in the offseason," said Chiarelli. "He works hard away from the game whether it’s on the ice or in the weight room, and he takes care of his body.
"He’s very professional that way, and he knows he has to play at a high level of energy so he has to best in the best shape. He’s gotten stronger, as those players who as they come out of their early 20’s, you’d like to see them get stronger, and in that sense he gets more confidence playing an agitating game. You have to be strong to play an agitating game.
"Of course, when all of that comes into play, these players find by the normal progression that they have time and space that they weren’t aware of before, and he can score," added the GM. "So, it’s been a good progression with Brad.
"When he first came up with us, he struggled. He found his footing there the last couple of years, and he’s had some really good years for us, good playoffs, and now he’s entering the next stage of his career."
Chiarelli also said that Marchand, owing to the maturity he's garnered during his time in the NHL, is adding different dimensions to his game.
"We talked about his style of play, and often times that style of play means that his teammates have to back him up," explained Chiarelli. "'March' can create some havoc, and he’s got his teammates watching his back, so when I see that happen, and I see the guys looking out for him, to me that shows one, he’s obviously an integral part of the team, but two, guys are willing to back him up and usually that’s a byproduct of some kind of leadership, when you can walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk."
"That is growing, I can see that coming, and again, he’s only 24, so he’s still a pup and he’s got time to develop that."