Why Trading Brad Marchand Would Be a Disaster for Boston Bruins

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Why Trading Brad Marchand Would Be a Disaster for Boston Bruins
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The team that takes the ice for the Boston Bruins in October is not going to be the same one that took the ice in mid-June when they lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Nathan Horton. Left in free agency. Jaromir Jagr. Not invited back. Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley. Traded to the Dallas Stars.

The Bruins may not be done. General manager Peter Chiarelli is apparently taking calls about Brad Marchand, the Little Ball of Hate and veteran center Chris Kelly

Taking calls on the availability of a particular player does not mean a trade is at hand. Chiarelli is a shrewd general manager who is not going to trade a vital player just because another general manager has picked up the phone.

But he needs to stop taking calls on the subject. Unless those calls are coming from Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman and he's offering Steven Stamkos, Marchand needs to stay right where he is.

Not only is Marchand vital to the Bruins' current and future success, he is an important symbol of the franchise and a link that binds the current Bruins teams to the team's memorable history.

Old-time Bruins fans can close their eyes and easily recall the championship teams of 1970 and '72. One of the most colorful and effective players on the team in Johnny "Pie" McKenzie.

Like Marchand, McKenzie was an aggressive type who was happy to dole out a forearm, elbow or punch if it gave him an edge. Like Marchand, McKenzie had a hard shot and a quick release.

Remember how Marchand tormented Daniel Sedin in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final? McKenzie did the same to members of the New York Rangers 40 years earlier.

Marchand, 25, scored 21 goals in 2010-11 for the Bruins, his first full season in the NHL. He was one of the Bruins' key performers in their run to the Stanley Cup, as he scored 11 goals and eight assists. He scored two of his goals in the Bruins' Game 7 win over the Vancouver Canucks that earned them the title.

He followed that season with 28 goals in 2011-12 and he had 18 goals in the shortened 2013 season. He has a non-stop motor, and he regularly is a force in the corners or along the boards despite his 5'9", 183 pound frame.

Marchand is the Bruins' agitator. He stirs the pot, as he often plays on the edge and draws the ire of his opponents.

He's a much-needed player, and there's no reason to think that's going to change. Yes, the Bruins are committed to paying him $4.5 million for the next four seasons, but he is worth the money.

His salary-cap number is the only reason the Bruins would have any reason to consider a trade. The Boston Globe reported Wednesday that the Bruins signed goalie Tuukka Rask to an eight-year, $56 million contract extension and a similar extension with Patrice Bergeron is quite likely, according to Kevin Paul Dupont.

The Rask extension puts the Bruins temporarily over the salary cap, but they can recapture $4.027 million by putting Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve. Savard has not played since the 2010-11 season, and his career is unlikely to continue.

But aside from the financial concerns, Marchand is a difference maker who needs to remain with the Bruins if they are going to remain a serious contender for the Stanley Cup.

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