The Bruins’ offseason is just a week old, but it’s likely that what they do this summer will be dictated by Patrice Bergeron’s decision to either stay in Boston or retire from hockey or even play elsewhere.
In the event Bergeron returns for year 19 with the Bruins, Boston’s offseason plan seems pretty straightforward: Equip the roster for one last possible playoff run with the current core.
But if Bergeron leaves, some difficult decisions might be made. Bergeron’s departure would slam the door shut on any hopes the Bruins would have of contending in 2022-23, if they already weren’t shut after their first-round playoff loss. In that case, 34-year-old All-Star Brad Marchand, who’s been Bergeron’s linemate since 2010, would reasonably be viewed as a possible trade candidate.
However, Marchand doesn’t appear ready to leave Boston – even if Bergeron retries. A tweet from Bruins podcaster Ian McLaren, which read “Medium hot take: If Patrice Bergeron retires, the Bruins should absolutely explore the trade market for Brad Marchand,” caught Marchand’s eye on Saturday.
“Tough take,” Marchand replied to McLaren on Twitter.
If the Bruins decided to trade Marchand, they could get assets in return to help usher in their next era. Marchand scored 32 goals and had 48 assists this past season, continuing to be one of the top scorers on a team that’s made the playoffs the last seven seasons. He’s still under contract for the foreseeable future, too, as he has three years remaining on his eight-year, $49 million deal.
Marchand was emotional at the prospect of the Bruins’ Game 7 loss to the Hurricanes being Bergeron’s final game.
“He’s the backbone of our team. Obviously, the biggest part of our team. We want him to come back,” Marchand told reporters following the loss. “But whatever happens, he’s earned the right to make whatever decision he wants and to take the time that he needs. I guess time will tell.”
“That’s a personal thing that he and his family are going to decide,” Marchand added. “I’ve obviously pushed my case on him to come back. If he ever wanted to open up and talk about it, then that’s up to him. But I wasn’t going to press him.”
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