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Looking back and ahead: Brad Marchand

05.08.12 at 6:54 pm ET
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With the Bruins’ season in the books, WEEI.com will take a look at each player on the roster one-by-one to provide some perspective on what went wrong this season and what the future holds for the 2011 champions.

Brad Marchand

Age: 23

2011-12 stats: 76 games played, 28 goals (career-high), 27 assists (career-high), 55 points (career-high), plus-31 (career-high)

Contract status: Signed through 2012-13 ($2.5 million cap hit), restricted free agent following 2012-13 season

Looking back: After being the recipient of the Seventh Player Award in his rookie season, Marchand used his sophomore campaign to show that his impressive 2011-12 performance (21 goals, 20 assists) wasn’t an overachievement.

The 2006 third-round pick played nearly the entire season as Patrice Bergeron‘s left wing, with Tyler Seguin often the right wing. He surpassed his rookie totals in every statistic but shorthanded goals (he had one compared to his five a season ago) and continued to be an asset on both the power play and penalty kill.

Marchand solidified his reputation as a pest this season, but he also continued down the road of being one of the Bruins’ dirtier players. He was fined $2,500 by the league for slew-footing Matt Niskanen on Dec. 15, and given a five-game suspension for his low-bridge hit on Sami Salo on Jan. 7. Marchand has now been suspended twice in his two full NHL seasons and carries with him the “repeat-offender” tag with each sticky situation in which he finds himself.

As was the case with essentially every top-six forward except for Rich Peverley and perhaps Seguin, Marchand was most part very quiet in the Bruins’ seven-game stint in the playoffs against the Capitals. Marchand’s lone game of note came in the form of a two-point performance in Game 5, but his goal and assist in that loss ended up being his only two points of the series.

Looking ahead: Marchand didn’t have big expectations on him as a rookie, and after getting a two-year, $5 million deal entering this past season, he proved to be more than worth the money by nearly putting up a 30-goal season. Now, as he enters the final year of his deal, what is the 23-year-old’s ceiling?

It’s a good question, because the expectation here wasn’t that he would repeat his 21-goal performance from 2010-11 when he finally signed his contract in September after a lengthy offseason of negotiating. So, is the expectation that Marchand can go out each season and put up between 25 and 30 goals? If so, his price tag after this deal expires might cause them to make a choice on some players (Marchand, Seguin, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton all have their deals expire after next season). Keep in mind that Marchand will be a restricted free agent, so he isn’t a major flight risk unless he pulls a Phil Kessel, which wouldn’t seem likely.

In addition to being an ideal “Bruin” by playing well in all three zones, the pesky winger has been able to exceed offensive expectations in each of his two full seasons in the NHL. He’s remained healthy, and it seems the only thing that can stop him is his tendency to cross the line.

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