His talent has unquestionably been there since signed his first professional contract before the 2009-10 season. His on-ice edginess has been questionable at times during his tenure. His growing pains he’s endured have been sometimes painful.
Through it all, Brad Marchand has grown into the player, and the person, that he is today.
At 28, Marchand is coming off the best season of his six-year tenure in Boston. Following a career-high 37 goals in 2015-16, Marchand was bound for a payday as he entered the final year of his contract.
Unlike his maturity process, Marchand didn’t have to wait long to sign that new contract.
In a deal that is both friendly for the Bruins and Marchand, the man of many monikers from ‘Nose Face Killah’ to ‘Little Ball of Hate’ officially signed an eight-year contract extension worth $49 million on Monday.
Given what Marchand could have gotten in the open market if he were to test free agency, the fact that he took such a discount is an example of how far he’s matured both on and off the ice.
“I’ve had a real close up [on the maturity process],” GM Don Sweeney said about Marchand prior to the Bruins’ preseason opener on Monday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. “He’s grown up a lot. As I’ve heard him say, Boston is his second home. He has a family now, he’s taken leadership and wants to be part of that core group and be a leader on and off the ice. He’s really grown into the player you see today on and off the ice, and he’s an important part of that group.”
Sweeney wasn’t the only one to echo that thought.
After the news was announced, the Marchand extension was brought up to players during their interviews from the media. From Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid’s post practice comments at Warrior Ice Arena to Claude Julien, Patrice Bergeron and Marchand himself speaking about the new deal in Canada’s preperation for their World Cup Final matchup against Team Europe, the team is pretty excited to see the third round pick stay in Boston for the forseable future.
“We see what he does on the ice. He scores big goals and he’s a big time player and what he’s doing now [at the World Cup] speaks for itself,” Krug said about Marchand. “What he is for this locker room is, I think, just as important. He brings the energy every day and holds guys accountable, and, you know, when guys aren’t showing up in the rink, he’s here everyday and ready to go. He’s one of the core players obviously, and it shows with the investment that ownership has made in him.”
“I’ve seen him grow up a lot, both on and off the ice,” McQuaid added. “He’s become a leader on this team, and a guy that can keep things light. He’s a great teammate, a great friend and also when it’s time to play and get down to business, he has that side of him as well. Those are the guys that you want on your team; the guys you respect. I’m just happy for him, he really deserves it. He’s worked extremely hard and continues to get better and better.”
Even through his maturity process, the sentiment around the league remains the same about Marchand as a player that they hate to play against but love to have on their team.
Having been on the opposite end of the spectrum during his time in St. Louis and recently on opposite ends during the World Cup, David Backes is certainly glad to be calling Marchand a teammate as he enters his first season with Boston.
“Well, I can affirm everyone elses thoughts that he was a pain in the butt, and I think he takes great pride in that. That, in my ideals as a teammate, is a great quality to have,” Backes said in his first media appearance since returning to Boston this weekend after representing Team USA in the World Cup.
“I think he’s shown the emergence last year and now in the World Cup in his high end ability and to be able to put points on the board in an offensive manner. And I think his maturity in being in the league long enough now, he’s found that great balance of the physical part, the agitating part and now the skill of being able to contribute with the puck and make great plays and play on a top line.
“Obviously he’s a great player and he’s going to be a part of the organization for a lot longer.”
Marchand, the Bruins and the city of Boston wouldn’t want to have it any other way.