Thursday, July 22, 2010

Boston Bruins Prospect Series: #7 Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand, RW
5-9, 190
May 11, 1988
Shoots: Left
Boston's 4th choice, 71st overall (third round) in 2006 Draft
Signing status: Signed through 2011

Talent Analysis

Physical: Diminutive, undersized winger is built like a fire hydrant with strong leg drive and low center of gravity. Excellent quickness and first-step burst. Elusive, agile skater who can handle the puck at top speed and 'shake n' bake' defenders when in possession. Good shooter; sees the ice well and uses his quickness to find open shooting lanes and get the puck on net. Solid passer and playmaker. Plays a gritty, sandpaper game despite the lack of size. Needs to continue building his upper body strength to better handle the competition at the NHL level, but has proven himself able to handle the rigors of the pro hockey grind with two AHL campaigns and time split in the NHL. He did miss time last season due to a freak tendon injury he received due to a cut skate blade, but physicality and strength has not been a problem for him.

Intangibles: Big-game player who elevates his performance in the clutch. Was a playoff performer in junior with Moncton and Val d'Or, and continued his superb postseason play with Providence as a rookie in '09 (the team failed to qualify for the '10 playoffs). With the departure of Vladimir Sobotka, Marchand is now the top agitator in the Boston organization. Good hockey sense, but does not possess high-end offensive instincts. More effective as an all-around player in all three zones. Still working on on-ice discipline and not letting his emotions get the best of him to the team's detriment, but has progressed well as a pro and was given a 20-game audition in Boston when injuries set in. Had a nice stint in Boston at the end of the season with childhood friend and minor/junior teammate Andrew Bodnarchuk, who was recalled to the Bruins to close out the 09-10 campaign to help offset losses to the Boston defense (Dennis Seidenberg, Mark Stuart).

2010 Development Camp Assessment
Did not attend-- graduated from "developmental/rookie" status.

Projection
Marchand's NHL upside may be as a third-liner, but his versatility and big-play ability should see him play a more active and prominent role for the big club in 10-11, even if it may have to come on the fourth line. The Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia native will need to make sure he comes to camp hungry and ready to perform as he did a year ago; he's on the bubble and must get off on the right foot with the coaches given Boston's roster turnover. With ice time and a regular role, he could be a modest scoring presence for the B's good for about 40 points, but his real value will lie in his energetic play, ability to get under opponents' skin and a penchant for coming up large when the games matter most. However, nothing's going to be handed to him.

Quotable
"Brad is a player who has really grown over the past season and more since he turned pro. He's a smart, instinctive player who understands his role and has a knack for getting it done when he's needed the most. He's still addressing the finer points of his game and the importance of not hurting the team with bad penalties, but he's done a fine job for us and has a chance to make an impact with Boston pretty soon."- Providence head coach Rob Murray to hockeyjournal.com; December, 2009

"I like the challenge of the playoffs, and I think I'm a player who can raise the level of my play when the pressure goes up and every game counts. It's something I've always been able to do and I take a lot of pride in it."- Brad Marchand to hockeyjournal.com; April, 2009

“It’s really special. It’s very, very rare that two best buddies growing up end up playing together in the NHL. It’s something that is very special for us to enjoy together and it’s a lot of fun.”- Brad Marchand to hockeyjournal.com; April, 2010

The Final Word
Marchand has paid his dues and should be ready to be a roster regular in Boston this season. That said, competition for spots will be fierce, and he'll need to avoid anything that could put him behind the eight ball right off the bat. His 20 games of experience last season was a nice start, but he didn't find the back of the net (one assist), so he'll need to produce more in order to hold down a spot. Like Sobotka, he may find himself shuttling between Boston and Providence depending on his performance, but if he puts his best foot forward, he should get his chance. Again, with Marchand, it's all about his versatility. He's the closest thing to a finished product that the Bruins have in their system, but the lack of offensive upside is what has dropped him behind others ranked ahead of him right now. In time, however, he could prove to be a much more valuable contributor than his seventh overall ranking would seem to indicate.

2 comments:

  1. A little disappointed to see Marchand rated above Spooner and Alexandrov, because I see him as having very limited upside, and he didn;t impress me during his 20 games with the Bruins last year. I saw a guy who didn't go out of his way to hit people (in contrast to the similarly undersized Sobotka) and wasn't strong on the puck. Also, ike Sobotka, strikes me as a guy whose huge AHL numbers won't survive the jump to the NHL. Looks like a 4th liner who is blocked by Thornton, Paille, and Campbell.

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