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Since helping Boston to a championship in his rookie year, Brad Marchand has steadily improved. 2013 was his best season yet.
The 25-year-old led the Bruins in both goals (18) and points (36), but a close look at the numbers suggests that Marchand's career year might have been fool's gold.
He converted on a career-high 19.8 percent of his shots in 2013. To put that in perspective, he shot more effectively than NHL goal-scoring leaders Alex Ovechkin (14.5 percent), Steven Stamkos (18.5 percent) and John Tavares (17.3 percent).
In fact, Marchand's shooting percentage was the best of any player with 18 or more goals.
Perhaps, he has actually become one of the NHL's best sharpshooters, but it is more likely that the shortened season highlighted an upswing for Marchand in the naturally fluctuating statistical category.
The winger's career 15.3 shooting percentage probably tells a more accurate story about the state of his game. His 7.0 percent scoring rate in the 2013 postseason proved that he can't maintain his 45-game rate from last season.
In the playoffs, Marchand also reverted to the undisciplined game often seen in his first two seasons. The pesky forward is at his best when agitating, but he proved in the last regular season that he can get under opponents' skin without visiting the sin bin.
If Marchand's goal total drops and he racks up penalty minutes, the Bruins won't be nearly as difficult to beat.