Brad Marchand, Peter Chiarelli Remain Tight-Lipped About Negotiations As Bruins Training Camp Nears

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Brad Marchand, Peter Chiarelli Remain Tight-Lipped About Negotiations As Bruins Training Camp Nears BOLTON, Mass. — The Bruins assembled at The International in Bolton for the annual Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament on Monday, and Brad Marchand was once again present with his teammates.

Marchand has been skating with the Bruins in their captain's practices, but the restricted free-agent forward remains without a new contract with veterans due to report to training camp on Friday.

The fact that Marchand remains involved in team functions gives reason for some optimism that a deal will be reached soon, but both sides remained relatively mum on the state of the negotiations.

"I'm not going to comment on that," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "I can say that I love the way he plays and he's a very good player for us."

Marchand was especially good in the Bruins' run to the Cup, scoring 11 goals and adding eight assists in 25 playoff games. That followed a breakthrough regular season in which Marchand earned Seventh Player Award honors with 21-20-41 totals in the final year of his entry-level deal after being selected in the third round of the 2006 draft.

Chiarelli has an excellent track record of getting players into camp on time. While key players holding out used to be an annual rite of fall under previous regimes, since Chiarelli took over as the Bruins' GM in 2006 only Phil Kessel in 2009 has missed the start of camp due to contract issues.

Kessel, who like Marchand is represented by agent Wade Arnott, was eventually traded during that camp to Toronto for three high draft picks that eventually netted the Bruins Tyler Seguin, Jared Knight and Dougie Hamilton. The Bruins aren't expected to go down that road with Marchand, and while proud of his track record of avoiding holdouts, Chiarelli stressed that's not his only goal in negotiations.

"It doesn't bother me," Chiarelli said of the potential of a player missing camp in a contract dispute. "Generally speaking you want everyone in camp because if you miss camp it's not a good thing. You play catch-up the rest of the year. But there's all different scenarios and all different cases. I pride myself on being reasonable. This doesn't apply to Brad, this is just generally speaking. It isn't by design that I want guys all in for camp. The primary objective is to be fair and reasonable and make sure they're happy and we're happy."

It's unclear what it will take to make both sides happy in this case. Philadelphia's James van Riemsdyk, who had similar 21-19-40 totals last year and also had a big postseason (7 goals in 11 games), recently cashed in with a six-year, $25.5 million deal with the Flyers. But van Riemsdyk also has a more prestigious pedigree as the second overall pick in 2007 and had a 15-20-35 campaign as a rookie in 2009-10, while Marchand had no goals and one assist in 20 games in the NHL prior to last season.

Even Marchand shied away from van Riemsdyk's deal a bit, telling reporters on Monday, "It's a great deal for him, but that isn't really any of my business."

Tampa Bay's Teddy Purcell, who signed a two-year, $4.725 million deal after a 17-34-51 campaign and 6-11-17 totals in 18 playoff games, and San Jose's Logan Couture, who had 32-24-56 totals as a rookie last year and was 7-7-14 in 18 playoff games before signing a two-year, $5.75 million deal this summer, could provide more reasonable comparables for Marchand.

In the meantime, Marchand continues to spend time with his teammates on and off the ice while getting ready for the season, whenever that may start for him. As he was when he spoke after the first captain's practice last week, Marchand remained noncommittal when asked if he would attend camp without a new deal in place.

"I'm not looking that far ahead right now," Marchand said. "It's just day to day."

But there are precious few days left before camps opens.

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