WILMINGTON, Mass. — The focus of the past week for the Bruins has been looking ahead a little farther into the future as the club's top young prospects have gathered at Ristuccia Arena for the fifth annual development camp.
But there is still one pressing bit of business for the Bruins to wrap up to get things in order for their more immediate future. Winger Brad Marchand remains unsigned after a breakthrough rookie season and memorable playoff performance in 2011.
Marchand is a restricted free agent whom the Bruins tendered a qualifying offer earlier this offseason. That gives them the right to match any offer he gets from another team or receive draft-pick compensation if they choose not to match.
Offer sheets are rare in the NHL, so it's highly unlikely that Marchand will be going anywhere after putting up 21-20-41 totals in the regular season and another 11 playoff goals in Boston's march to the Stanley Cup. The Bruins and Marchand still need to hammer out a new deal, though. After the final session of the development camp wrapped up Monday general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed that talks to that end remain ongoing.
"We've continued to talk," Chiarelli said. "We've had some discussion, and we'll leave it at that."
According to capgeek.com, Marchand had an $821,667 cap hit last season in the final year of his entry-level contract. He'll make more than that on his new deal, but how much of a raise he'll receive is the big question, along with how many years the Bruins will be able to lock up the 23-year-old.
Marchand proved himself a valuable asset as an agitator and penalty killer who could contribute consistently on offense as well, but he has done it for just one season. Prior to last year, his only NHL experience was a 20-game stint in 2009-10 when he had no goals and just one assist.