The Boston Bruins and restricted free agent Brad Marchand have reached agreement on a two-year contract, the team announced Wednesday.
The 23-year-old will be paid $2 million this season and $3 million next season, sources told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun. Marchand will be a restricted free agent again following the 2012-13 season.
At a teleconference with the media, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and Marchand both said they were never worried a deal wouldn't get done, but that finalizing it before Friday's start to training camp was important.
"From the get-go I never was going to miss a day of camp," Marchand said. "I never wanted that. I wanted to be here the first day. I wanted to show I wanted to be here and go through the whole camp with the guys and be a part of the team. I was very happy that it didn't have to come down to that, and we were able to get the deal done before camp, so now we can just move forward."
Chiarelli concurred with his winger, who became a cult hero during the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup championship by registering 19 points in 25 games. Marchand had two goals and an assist in a 4-0 win in Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks that earned Boston its first Cup in 39 seasons.
"It was important," Chiarelli acknowledged. "I didn't think that it would get to that stage. Brad's always told me that he wants to be here and be part of the Bruins, and I know the work that (assistant general manager) Don Sweeney put in and Brad's representative, they put in some good time and I had a feeling it would get done. It's nice to finish this, spin this before camp, because you fall behind in camp and it's hard to catch up. So I didn't think that it would get to that stage, and it didn't.
"It took a little while, but I'm very happy to sign Brad to two years. He was a terrific performer in the playoffs, a clutch performer and just loves to play, plays on the edge, and we're really excited to have him with the Bruins for two more years."
Chiarelli attributed the length of the negotiations with Marchand and agent Wade Arnott to the league's collective bargaining agreement and the status of players coming off entry-level deals.
"These deals that come off of entry-level deals, they're hard deals to negotiate for both sides," Chiarelli said. "There's an element where they don't have a year of arbitration so there's sticking points along the negotiations and you've seen some other players that have waited this long. So it's just an area in the CBA where it's a tough negotiating time for a player of that status, and Brad had that status. He had a terrific year and terrific playoffs. It's not a reflection on the Bruins, on us, or Brad, it's just where he was in his career with regard to the CBA and you see it happening across the league."
Chiarelli acknowledged that deals such as the six-year, $25.5 million extension the Flyers signed with budding star James van Riemsdyk and the two-year, $5.75 million extension the Sharks signed Logan Couture to played a role in the talks.
"These are all comparables and there's a whole list of comparables that you talk about," Chiarelli said. "It was something that we worked on throughout the summer, and deals come up, we discuss deals and we discuss where our offers are, and eventually you get a deal done."
After recording one assist in 20 games for Boston in the 2009-10 season, Marchand told the Bruins brass and coach Claude Julien that he would score 20-plus goals in 2010-11. He fulfilled that promise with a 21-goal, 41-point season. While he is not making any bold predictions this season, he is ready to prove he can maintain the level of success he found last season.
"I think the main reason for saying that in the first place was I didn't even get on the team and figured maybe that would help plant a seed in their heads," Marchand said. "But there's always room for every player to improve and I think a big part of my game that I want to improve is my defensive game. You watch guys like (Patrice Bergeron) and (David Krejci); they're a couple of the top guys on our team and in the league and they're still defensively strong. So that's another big area of my game I want to continue to improve on. But you can always improve every area of your game."
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.