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Brad Marchand signs extension with Bruins

Left wing gets eight years, $49 million, calls Boston 'second home'

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Left Wing Brad Marchand signed an eight-year, $49 million contract extension with the Boston Bruins on Monday. The contract is worth an average annual value of $6.125 million and runs through the 2024-25 season.

"Boston has become my second home," Marchand said. "I absolutely love it there. I'm very excited about what's ahead for our team. I really believe in our team and our group and what we're working towards. It's a place that I'm very excited about being for the next number of years and potentially my whole career."

With the way that Marchand has meshed with Sidney Crosby and Bruins teammate Patrice Bergeron for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, the question started to creep in: Would the Pittsburgh Penguins be a destination for Marchand when his contract expired at the end of this season? 

Even Bergeron joked about that idea Monday, after the news had been announced by the Bruins: "You know," he said, "I was getting a little worried now, him playing with Sid…"

Video: Brad Marchand on his contract extension

He wasn't, really. Bergeron, being in the loop, knew that a contract extension for Marchand was in the works, and was pleased to hear it finally got done and was announced. Bergeron and Marchand have found impressive chemistry over the past five seasons, becoming one of the best pairs in the NHL, and blossomed when Marchand scored an NHL career-high 37 goals and Bergeron had 32 last season.

"I'm really happy, obviously," Bergeron said. "He's an amazing player and a player I really enjoy playing with. We've created a lot of chemistry over the years. … I just can't say enough about him. It's well-deserved.

"Obviously he loves it in Boston. I wanted him to be here for a long time. I'm just happy that they could get it done and we can stay together."

Marchand did not want to delve too deeply into the contract, preferring to keep the focus on Team Canada and the World Cup, where he has been stellar. Marchand is the second-leading scorer in the World Cup behind Crosby with three goals and five points. Team Canada plays Team Europe in the best-of-3 final, which begins Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVA Sports). 

The 28-year-old thanked the Jacobs family, which owns the Bruins, along with general manager Don Sweeney, team president Cam Neely, coach Claude Julien, his family, and the fans in Boston.

"Well any time you're able to keep a player of Brad's impact level to our hockey club, I think it's a great thing for the future of our organization," Sweeney said. "Brad was an important part of it, we said that all along that we wanted him to be a part of stuff going forward, so I would characterize it as win-win, yes."

Video: Marchand credits Bergeron, coaching staff for growth

The contract will take him to age 37, and at a very reasonable average annual value. That's something that Julien appreciated, along with the ability to be able to send out a Marchand-Bergeron combination for at least another six seasons.

"I think it's great for everybody," said Julien, currently serving as an assistant coach for Team Canada at the World Cup. "To me, that contract was a win-win situation for both sides. Well-deserved contract for Brad, the way he's grown as a player, as a person, and everything else. He's become a real elite player, so he's being rewarded for it. At the same time, I really feel it's a friendly cap hit for our hockey club, for the type of player that he is. I think both sides won on this, I really do."

That's because Marchand has pushed himself into a small category of players at the top of the NHL. Five players scored more goals than he did last season, completing a transformation that saw him start his career as an agitating fourth liner, before becoming a sniper and first-line stalwart.

And he's grown as a person, too.

"We've seen it come from a situation where he was being watched by referees, by the League, and his antics were being obviously watched closely," Julien said. "Even as a coach there was times where you never knew what was going to happen to a guy who's really kind of turned the other way. He's become part of our leadership group in our dressing room. That's how far he's come."

On that note, Julien said that Marchand was a player who might get consideration as an alternate captain with the Bruins this season. The team already has Bergeron as a permanent alternate and rotated the other "A" between Chris Kelly and David Krejci last season. Kelly is now gone.

"What I like about Brad, and I'm being very honest about that, is that he's such a professional, he's not done trying to get better," Julien said. "He's not going to sit on this contract and say, 'I've got it done, now I can relax.' He's got visions of greater things and I know that because I've had him for a long time."

Video: The guys break down Brad Marchand's extension

Julien's watched Marchand on multiple stages, in multiple stages, from the fourth line to the first, from NHL preseason games to regular-season games to Stanley Cup Playoff games, and now with Team Canada.

"I think it's helped the people on the outside as well to see how good he is and maybe shed some of that reputation that he brought upon himself early in his career," Julien said, of his inclusion on the World cup roster. "He's honest about it, he'll tell you the same thing, but he's really starting to shed that reputation. He's earning a lot of respect from people watching him, but also I think people in that dressing room are discovering how good a person he really is, things that we've known for a long time in Boston."

Plus, he belongs on the ice. He fits. He was among the first 16 players that Team Canada's management knew they would put on the team for the World Cup of Hockey, even if he wasn't named until the second go-around so as not to ruffle any feathers.

His game has gotten him here. His contract now matches.

"Just watching him here with elite players, he really is as good as anybody else right now," Julien said. "He's become that kind of a player."

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