The Boston Bruins want to begin negotiating with left wing Brad Marchand on a contract extension, CSN New England reported.
Marchand, who had NHL career highs with 37 goals and 61 points this season, has one year remaining at a reported $4.5 million on his contract.
"We're going to look at Brad right away ... early on here in the process once we get past that first wave in July," Bruins general manager Don Sweeney told CSN. "We'll have some good discussions. We'd prefer that we're tracking on the earlier side of things. He's a big part of our hockey club."
Marchand, 28, is not the only key player the Bruins will try to sign. Left wing Loui Eriksson, who scored 30 goals this season, could become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
"We've continued to have discussions to see if we can find common ground (with Eriksson)," Sweeney told CSN. "We're getting closer to July 1. Does he feel the itch [to test free agency]? Maybe. But I've said all along I respect what Loui brings to our hockey club....
"The onus is on us to display what level we're willing to commit to Loui, and as he knows on the door to free agency that is important to him. It comes down to how far we want to stretch."
Defenseman Torey Krug, who had an NHL career-high 44 points, could become a restricted free agent.
"Whatever term that winds up being, we'll find a contract for him," Sweeney said of Krug on May 25.