The rumor mill insists that Peter Chiarelli is trying to move Brad Marchand. The Boston Bruins drafted Marchand 71st in the 3rd round of the 2006 draft. Taken ahead of him were Phil Kessel in the first round, Milan Lucic in the second, Yuri Alexandrov who has even sniffed the NHL. Kessel is second in scoring in that draft, Milan Lucic is sixth in scoring, and Marchand is 16th.
When looking at Marchand it is important to note he’s played about 190 less NHL games than Lucic and almost 300 less than Kessel. Kessel has recently been flipped for Eriksson, Smith, Knight, Hamilton. Lucic has turned into a solid two way player who’s skating is so improved over his first year in the NHL he’s almost unrecognizable. Lucic has also been put on the teams top offensive line for the past four seasons. Marchand started on the fourth line, and has worked his way to the teams premier two way line alongside Patrice Bergeron. In the past three years he’s played with the ‘still maturing’ Tyler Seguin, and two grey beards; Jaromir Jagr and Mark Recchi. Neither of whom managed even respectable speed two shifts in a month.
Pure points wise, there is so little reason to move Marchand it is absolutely silly to even discuss it.
Using the past three seasons his points per game start at .532 ppg over 77 games with 21 goals, 2 of them powerplay and five shorthanded. This is the season he spent the first 20 games or so on the fourth line. Two season ago with regular time on Bergeron’s wing he jumped to .732 points per game, and 5 powerplay goals. In the lockout shortened season he again jumped up the points per game meter even though he spent the tail end of the season with Jagr and a couple games without Bergeron, this tail off left him with a slim and disturbing .8 points per game. This in a year where the compressed schedule brutalized players across the NHL.
Career wise, within the same system, Marchand handily beats Lucic. Lucic is a solid .59 ppg taking all regular season NHL games played into the measure, and Marchand is at .61. When you add in speed, the ability to play both shorthanded and on the powerplay, and a willingness to play physically clearly he has value. At 25, he’s in about the prime of his career, his .8ppg this year were probably among the most efficient in the NHL as he played just under 17 minutes a night.
Price wise he’s making a middling $4.5m. Other players in the range are Ryan Malone, David Legwand, Vincent Lecavalier, Erik Cole and Tomas Fleishmann
- Marchand produced a point about every 21.19 minutes of ice time including over 57 minutes of short handed ice time.
- Malone produced a point about once every 47.125 minutes of ice time including 19 minutes of short handed time.
- Lecavalier produced a point about every 21.78 minutes of ice time including over 7 minutes of short handed ice time.
- Cole produced a point about every 36.384 minutes of ice time including over 38 minutes of short handed ice time.
- Legwand produced a point about every 35.36 minutes of ice time including over 51 minutes of short handed ice time.
- Fleishmann produced a point about every 25.586 minutes of ice time including over 41 minutes of short handed ice time.
Of the players perpetually rumored to be available, some just don’t make sense even if you take theoretical off ice issues into consideration:
- Evander Kane; very talented but has a cap hit that’s three quarters of a million dollars higher, just is as good defensively. And then there’s the Winnipeg media’s ever expanding repertoire of maneuvers to discredit him or drive him out of town.
- Bobby Ryan; he was just moved and it highly doubtful the Senators would trade him within the division. He’s also a right wing where as Marchand has played his NHL career at left.
- Dustin Byfuglien; a unique talent who can impact the game from defense or right wing. He’s got a larger salary than Marchand, and I just don’t see Julien configuring the lineup to play him at both wing and defense.
- Kris Versteeg; a solid NHL forward who seems to wear out his welcome in short order, his salary is $100k smaller than Marchand’s.
- Sam Gagner; while still unsigned, and a solid NHL player, I don’t see the Bruins trading for a player who is due a larger raise and hasn’t played in a system with a viable defensive element.
- Keith Yandle; with ownership and the arena nailed down it is unlikely they start moving central pieces, especially not with the teams heavy reliance on their blueline.
- Thomas Vanek; if the Sabres are really going to push their rebuild, he’s a logical player to move, but with one season left on a contract worth more than $7million, he’d create almost as many problems as he’d solve with just his contract.
- Matt Duchene/Paul Stastny: both are solid offensive centers but neither fits the Bruins system, both need new contracts next year and both have question marks.
Is it possible to move Marchand and remain a contender? Yes of course. Is the return on him likely to be better at the same price or less? No, certainly not in terms of immediate NHL impact. If he is to be moved, there are only about five or six reasonable return, but it is unlikely anyone parts with them. Wayne Simmonds plays hockey perfectly to fit in Boston, Ryan Kesler shifted to wing would do well but Kesler’s injury history is long and distinguished, the Los Angeles Kings Matt Greene would be an instant fan favorite, and Marchand would give the Kings some much needed speed.
Is this a stupid rumor? Probably yes. But hey, when the hockey rumor mill gets boring, and you’ve analyzed stats until your eyes cross there’s always People of Walmart, it is no better or worse than (most of) the NHL rumors but it is different.