In each of the last four seasons, Brad Marchand has popped up on both Hart and Selke Trophy ballots.
He might be building his strongest case yet in 2021.
While the Bruins have dealt with injuries up and down the lineup, Marchand has been the most stabilizing force on the roster. Slashing 12-19-31 through 24 games, he’s continued to be an impactful offensive player, but like in recent years, he’s been a largely reliable defensive player and penalty killer.
Bruce Cassidy doesn’t think it’s far-fetched for Marchand to get Selke consideration.
“Why not, go ahead put it out there. If he deserves it, he deserves it if you believe that,” Cassiday said. “He wouldn’t have an issue with it, I wouldn’t have an issue with it. (Patrice Bergeron) might have an issue with it. Clearly, he’s done a good job. If he’s in that conversation, if people are talking about it then good for him. A 200-foot player like Bergy and that’s why they’re deadly both on the power play, 5-on-5 and PK.
But what about the Hart?
“Listen, I think any accolades our guys get, I’m all for. I think we’re all about the crest on the front, but in the meantime if they’re giving out the awards, why not our guys?” Cassidy said. “Hart Trophy I agree (Marchand should be in the conversation), I think there’s probably other players in the league with better numbers that people will gravitate towards, but if you look at what Marchy brings to this team in terms of offensive ability, scoring, penalty kill, power-play, 4-on-4, overtime and he’s got an ‘A’ on his sweater, he’s become much more of a leader in terms of setting an example in practice, in games.
“I think he should be in the conversation — I don’t want to rate him anywhere, I’d have to go through all the guys in the league — but certainly merits conversation about that award. Yeah, for sure.”
There are two things that ultimately hinder Marchand’s chances at both.
For the Selke, it is exceedingly rare for a winger to win the award, let alone be a finalist for it. It’s a flaw in the voting system, but nevertheless the reality.
As for the Hart, it’s just that there are so many legitimate candidates in addition to Marchand. Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews are the frontrunners, but that’s not to say Marchand can’t make a late push to really make voters think.
Hardware or not, Marchand has given what the Bruins have needed from him and more, and it’s probably safe to assume that’s all he really cares about.