Bruins sign Marchand to big extension

The Boston Bruins on Friday signed forward Brad Marchand to a four-year contract worth an average of $4.5 million per season, the team announced. The new deal kicks in after the 2012-13 season and keeps him in Boston through 2016-17.

The 24-year-old Marchand is coming off his second season with the Bruins, in which he registered 55 points on 28 goals and 27 assists. He had 41 points in his rookie season (2010-11), during which he established himself as a key agitator and clutch goal scorer in helping the Bruins win the Stanley Cup.

Marchand, who will make $3 million this season, would have become a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Starting next season, Marchand will be the third-highest paid forward on the team, behind only David Krejci ($5.25 million) and Patrice Bergeron ($4.55 million). Marc Savard is under contract to make $5 million next season, but he hasn’t played since January 2011 and is unlikely to suit up again due to post-concussion syndrome.