As many if not all of you have heard Brad Marchand's name is being thrown around the trading block. After a poor playoff performance where he had more bad penalties then goals it's not very surprising that management is considering a change. Marchand has always been the type of player who was right on the edge but his talent always made up for any mistakes he made until this past playoffs.
Marchand is a proven 20 plus goal guy scoring at least 21 or more in each of his three full seasons with the Bruins. Even in the lockout shortened season last year he scored 18 goals in just 45 games that puts him on pace for 31 goals if it was a full season. Marchand is also a valuable penalty killer who in his 4 year career has more short handed goals with 13 then power play goals 12. He has also proven he can play big in the closing moments of a game with 15 game winning goals. The only real draw back to his game has been his undisciplined play and his drop off in the playoffs since his rookie year. During the Bruins Stanley Cup winning run Marchand scored 19 points in just 25 games and had a plus 12 rating. In the past 3 years he has 20 points in 41 games with a plus 8 rating.
So now the question becomes what should the Bruins a team with just over 9 million in cap space with some key players becoming free agents do with the 4.5 million dollar cap hit Marchand has. If they are looking to Trade Marchand they will clearly not just be looking to throw him away and will want a young but proven forward back in return possibly a second or third line quality player. The reason I say a third line player is because we already have a first line left wing playing out of position on the third line in Loui Eriksson. If Marchand is traded and the Bruins are looking more for cap relief then a replacement Eriksson can slide right into that open second line left wing spot. This would obviously have some chemistry problems because Eriksson and Soderberg became the best third line duo in the league last year dominating down the stretch. Personally I don't want to see Marchand traded but if he is moved here are a few possible trade partners.
There are a few teams out there who could use an offensive boost in their line ups teams like Phoenix, Edmonton, and Nashville could all use a scoring boost and a player with playoff experience. Phoenix has 16.4 million dollars in cap space and is in need of a playoff tested offensive player. The Coyotes were led offensively by Keith Yandle who as a defenseman scored 53 points but was minus 23 followed by right wing Radim Vrbata who scored 51 point and was minus 6. Just a few years ago Phoenix made a surprise run in the playoffs but have not made it back the past two seasons. If Phoenix wants to trade for Marchand it is likely going to cost them the promising Mikkel Boedker who has yet to live up to the expectations of being the 8th overall pick in the 2008 draft. Fortunately at just 24 years old he has time to grow and a move to a contending team with great coaching and locker room vets could be just what he needs to unlock that potential. This past season was a career year for him as he achieved career highs in goals 19 assists 32 and points 51 with a minus 9 rating. On a team near the bottom of the league offensively minus 9 is an acceptable stat especially for the Bruins who are one of the best defensive teams in the NHL. The most appealing thing other then Boedker's potential is his speed. The Bruins showed a lack of speed in their series against the Canadiens and it was a big reason why they lost the series. Clearly this trade will involve more pieces but Marchand for Boedker is the main part.
The next team on the list is the Edmonton Oilers who need a playoff experience forward who can lead by example over the young stars they have been drafting over the past 3 years. Edmonton finished 25th in goals for and dead last in goals against. The teams leading scorer was Taylor Hall who scored 80 points but was minus 15 followed by Jordan Eberle with 65 points and a minus 11 rating. The Oilers tried to fix their forward problems by bringing in David Perron but he alone was not enough as he finished the season with 57 points and a minus 16 rating. The Oilers need a forward who has playoff experience and Marchand fits that bill having made two trips to the finals in the past 4 years which might be more then all of Edmonton's roster to start next year. Unfortunately outside of swapping Perron for Marchand I don't see much of a chance for a deal to get done. Perron played for the Blues for 6 seasons before being traded so he knows how to play a defensive style which is shown in his career plus 29 rating despite a minus 16 this season. Perron finally got to show some of his real offensive talent this year setting career highs in goals with 28 and points 57. He might not help fix the Bruins speed problem but he is a great system fit having played for the Blues for most of his career.
Finally the Nashville Predators who finished 19th in goals for could be a spot where Marchand lands. Nashville was led in scoring by defenseman Shea Weber who finished the season with 56 points and a minus 2 rating followed by Patric Hornqvist who scored 53 points and was a plus 1. Nashville only had 6 players score 40 or more points so adding a proven 50 plus point player in Marchand would help their offense significantly. The only problem with Nashville is it's lack of proven assets that the Bruins would want to trade for. If a trade is done it will more then likely be a salary dump for the Bruins moving Marchand for prospects and picks. One of those prospects could be Filip Forsberg the 11th pick in the 2012 draft. Forsberg was traded to Nashville for Martin Erat so it's safe to say that Marchand would be of high enough value to get a deal done and then some. This deal is the most unlikely because the Bruins are not an acquiring assets stage they are in a win now stage so unless they really like a player in free agency and need to cup cap space I don't see much of a deal here.
Personally I don't want to see Marchand traded yes he can hurt the team but he just needs a wake up call to buckle down and refocus on what he does to play at his best. Yes the Bruins could use the cap space created by moving him but there are other players I would move first. If I was the GM of the Bruins I would tell him he needs to get his act together and that I don't want to trade him but if it helps the team he will be moved. Give him the first two months of the season to show he is focused on being better and take it from there. Unless a team makes an offer that would be crazy to turn down I say we give him a chance to prove how much he wants to stay a Bruin.