Brad Marchand Not Making Any Bold Predictions, But Aims to Continue Developing Overall Game in Coming Season

Brad Marchand Not Making Any Bold Predictions, But Aims to Continue Developing Overall Game in Coming Season The contract talks are finally over, and Brad Marchand has a new set of impressive numbers beside his name on the two-year deal worth a reported $5 million he agreed to on Wednesday.

The feisty Bruins winger can now turn his attention to some new numbers as he looks to build off his breakthrough season of a year ago.

Marchand made some waves after the 2009-10 season, when he boldly predicted he would score 20 goals in 2010-11. That was after he didn't score a single goal and managed just one assist in 20 games with the big club. Marchand proved even better than his boast, backing up his brash talk with a 21-20-41 campaign, scoring 11 more goals and adding eight assists in the playoffs to help the Bruins claim their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.

So will Marchand be making any more predictions about what he might do for an encore this year?

"That's OK, I'll just go out and try to work hard," Marchand said in a conference call Wednesday to discuss his new deal.

"The main reason for me saying that in the first place was I was fighting to even get on the team and I thought maybe that would help, plant a seed in their heads," Marchand added of the prediction, which he initially made in his exit interviews with coach Claude Julien and general manager Peter Chiarelli after the 2009-10 season.

By the end of last season, Marchand's bosses were definitely believers, and backed up that faith with a $5-million commitment after a summer's worth of negotiating.

"It took a little while, but I am very happy to have signed Brad to two years," Chiarelli said. "He was a terrific performer in the playoffs, a clutch performer. He loves to play. He plays on the edge, and we're really excited to have him with the Bruins for two more years. I told Brad today that at the end of last year he told me he was going to score 20 goals and he scored more than that, and I told him I was proud of him and he deserved this. He's a good kid and we're happy to have him in the mix."

The fact that Marchand declined the chance to publicly state another bold prediction for his stats in the upcoming season shows the continued maturing of the 23-year-old forward. His value on the ice comes as much from his agitating physical style and ability to get under opponents' skins with his chirping as it does from his offensive production, but Marchand admitted he took things too far at times last year.

With help from Julien and his staff and veteran mentors like Mark Recchi, Shawn Thornton and Patrice Bergeron, Marchand got better at reining himself in as the season wore on, and his statements on Wednesday show that the maturation process remains ongoing.

"I felt like throughout the year I got better and controlling my emotions," Marchand said. "There were times in the playoffs where they got the best of me, but for the most part the coaching staff did a great job in leading me in the right direction. I feel that the older you get the more mature you get, and the more you play in this league the better I'll be able to learn how to control it. I'm still a young player. I'm still trying to learn every day."

Marchand is also looking to improve other areas of his games. Despite finishing a plus-25 on the season and being a key member of the penalty kill, where he contributed five shorthanded goals, Marchand is focused on improving his defensive play this season.
 
"There's always room for every player to improve," Marchand said. "A big part that I still want to improve is my defensive game. You watch guys like Bergy and Krech [David Krejci] and they're a couple of the top guys on our team and in the league and they're so defensively strong. So that's a big area I want to improve on, but you can always improve every area of your game."

That desire to improve is one of the traits that convinced Chiarelli to make sure that Marchand remained a part of the young core of the club for the coming years.

"There are players that you want that have certain attributes, certain values and you want them to continue to be part of your organization," Chiarelli said. "And Brad is one of those."

Marchand wouldn't commit to any bold predictions about his individual numbers, but he wasn't shy about stating his goal for the team. Having hoisted the Cup once, Marchand won't be satisfied with anything less than another title. And with the bulk of last year's championship squad returning, Marchand likes the Bruins' chances of celebrating again next summer.

"All around the room, we all definitely agree that we have a great opportunity again this year," Marchand said. "Everyone's very excited. We've only lost a couple of guys, and [Benoit] Pouliot and [Joe] Corvo have come in and they're both great players. From what it looks like in camp, there's a lot of good young guys that are going to be battling for spots. We have a great opportunity again this year, but we are going to have to make sure we don't come in and take it for granted and think it's going to be easy because we won last year. But the way everyone is hungry, I do believe we have a great opportunity again this year."

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