The Brad Marchand-for-Patrick Marleau trade rumor was fun for the 12-plus hours while it lasted.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli doesn’t normally respond to rampant speculation at this time of year with things kicking up prior to the NHL Draft and the July 1 opening of free agency, but he shot this one down, along with any other trade speculation involving the B’s agitator.
“I have had no discussions for Marchand and I have no plans to trade him,” wrote Chiarelli in a text. “I don’t make it a practice to respond to reports in the social media, but occasionally it is necessary.”
Clearly, things could change if the Bruins were bowled over by a juicy offer from another NHL team for the talented, mercurial right winger. There has been frustration with Marchand for his lack of recent playoff productivity (zero goals in his past 22 postseason games) and a burgeoning bad reputation with NHL referees. The combination of fruitless playoff offense and lack of maturity to his game is something the Bruins haven’t been wild about the past couple of seasons.
Still, it’s just as clear that the Bruins aren’t shopping the Nose Face Killah in any trade discussions, and the current Boston plan for next season still includes a talented player who has averaged 20 goals and nearly 50 points per season over the past four years.
The Bruins are amidst a difficult salary-cap situation. They hold roughly $9 million in cap space with three forwards, two defensemen and a backup goalie waiting to be signed and that would have been a component in a potential Marchand deal, as well.
The Bruins will need to make several moves in order to re-sign their own players, fill the requisite roster spots and complete a team looking for bigger and better things next season.
That’s why the specific Marleau trade didn’t make much sense: he’s eight years older than Marchand, 26, has his own playoff performance issues with the San Jose Sharks and carries a hefty $6.6 million cap hit for the next few seasons.
If anything the Bruins are looking to get younger and faster rather than older, slower and more overpriced in any offseason deals. Still, Marleau has scored almost 200 goals the past six seasons and would be the kind of player to add finishing touch to a Bruins team that sorely could have used a bit more against Montreal this spring.
So, it’s the kind of thing, if 100 percent true, that Chiarelli and the Bruins would want to think long and hard about fighting against a Stanley Cup contention window that can’t have more than 3-4 years left with Zdeno Chara turning 38 next season.