Bruins Player Preview: Brad Marchand’s Expected Role, Projected Season Stats

Brad MarchandEditor’s note: NESN.com will preview every NHL-level Bruins player over the next few weeks, leading to the Oct. 8 season opener. Click here for the full schedule and to read other player profiles.

Brad Marchand is a valuable player for the Boston Bruins because he makes a positive impact in all three zones.

The second-line right winger consistently scores more than 20 goals, battles hard for puck possession and excels on the penalty kill.

Marchand is entering his fifth full season with the Bruins and should be just beginning the prime of his career.

Player Vitals
Age: 26
Position: Left Wing
2013-14 Stats: 25 goals, 28 assists, 53 points in 82 games
Contract: Expires after 2016-17, with a $4.25 million salary-cap hit each year

What He Will Bring The Team
Marchand is a near-lock for 25 goals. He’s scored 28 and 25 goals in his last two 82-game seasons, respectively, and he’s tallied over 50 points in each campaign, too. He’s developed fantastic chemistry on the second line with Patrice Bergeron and the two of them create a lot of scoring chances for each other as a result.

Marchand also plays alongside Bergeron on Boston’s top penalty killing unit, a group that ranked eighth in the league with an 83.7 percent success rate last season. The 26-year-old winger tied Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews for the league lead in shorthanded goals with five.

Marchand also is a pest, and that makes him hard to play against. He uses his stick well, finishes his checks and battles hard for pucks in all areas. It’s not hard to see why he’s a great puck-possession player (he had a stellar 59.56 Corsi-for percentage in 2013-14).

Weakness That Must Be Improved
Marchand’s 66 penalty minutes ranked third on the Bruins last season, and he also led team with 31 minor penalties. The frustrating part of these stats is the amount of bad penalties Marchand takes. For example, he took a penalty for snowing Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price in Game 7 of last year’s second-round playoff series. Marchand is going to take penalties as a result of his style of play, but he needs to be smarter because the Bruins need him on the ice to score goals and play on special teams.

Expected Role For 2014-15
Marchand will play left wing on the second line, as expected. He’ll also factor into the penalty kill with Patrice Bergeron.

The 26-year-old winger has come into camp in great shape, much better than he was last season, and looks poised for the best season of his career. Claude Julien likes Marchand’s progress in camp so far.

“I think just the conditioning, how he trained this summer to come to camp and be a better player is definitely one of them. Again, not to confuse the fact that he wasn’t in great shape last year, he was,” Julien said Tuesday. “I don’t think he trained properly for hockey. His cardio wasn’t the greatest. The whole year he just struggled with it. This year he seems a lot better, he seems to have more endurance out there. His shifts are much better because of it.”

Projected 2014-15 Stats: 30 goals, 34 assists in 81 games

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