Brad Marchand doesn’t have to worry about cracking the Bruins roster as he enters Year 13 with Boston, but he certainly knows how the struggle in trying to get into the NHL.
Marchand was drafted by the Bruins in 2006 but didn’t see NHL action until the 2009-10 season. But when you’re fighting for a spot with people like Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille, it didn’t leave much room for the winger.
Then came the 2010-11 season when Marchand finally broke through and played a role in the Bruins winning their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.
Many young players likely will find themselves in a similar situation this year. Jakub Lauko, Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen and Jack Ahcan may be among those on the outside looking in due to the Bruins getting some much-needed bottom-six help in the offseason with the additions of Nick Foligno, Erik Haula and Tomas Nosek.
Marchand offered up some advice to the young guys Thursday after training camp.
“Yeah, it’s tough,” Marchand told reporters. “It’s frustrating for young guys coming into a camp like this, where you feel like you’re ready, you feel like you want to be in the NHL. Everybody wants to be here. No one wants to go back to junior, college, minors. You want to make that jump. You come in and you can see, I don’t know, 13, 14 guys on (one-way contracts) up front and seven, eight D on one-ways at the back, two or three goalies.
“You’re looking at what you can do, but that’s when you have to kind of pick a guy and try to push him out. That’s what you do. You find a guy you think you can push out and you try to lean on him and try to take his spot. The worst thing that’s gonna come out of that is you have a great camp and you’re the next guy who gets called up. That’s what you kind of fight for as well.”