The Bruins’ offseason is only a week old, but it’s likely what they do this summer will be dictated by Patrice Bergeron’s decision to stay in Boston or retire from hockey or even play elsewhere.
Should Bergeron return for 19 with the Bruins, Boston’s offseason plan seems simple enough: outfit the roster for a possible final playoff run with the current core.
But if Bergeron leaves, tough decisions could be made. Bergeron’s departure would shut the door on any hope the Bruins have of a fight in 2022-23, if they weren’t already shut down after their first-round playoff loss. In that case, 34-year-old star Brad Marchand, who has been Bergeron’s linemate since 2010, would reasonably be considered a potential candidate.
However, Marchand doesn’t seem ready to leave Boston – even if Bergeron tries again. A tweet from Bruins podcaster Ian McLaren, which read, “Medium Take: If Patrice Bergeron retires, Bruins should definitely explore the trade market for Brad Marchand,” caught Marchand’s attention on Saturday.
“Hard grip,” Marchand replied to McLaren on Twitter.
Should the Bruins decide to trade Marchand, they could get assets in return to help usher in their next era. Marchand scored 32 goals and had 48 assists last season, continuing to be one of the leading scorers on a team that has been in the playoffs for the past seven seasons. He is still under contract for the foreseeable future, as he has three years left on his eight-year, $49 million contract.
Marchand was emotional that the Bruins’ Game 7 loss to the Hurricanes would be Bergeron’s last game.
“He is the backbone of our team. Obviously, most of our team. We want him back,” Marchand told reporters after the loss. “But no matter what, he has earned the right to make the decision he wants and take the time he needs. I guess time will tell.
“It’s a personal thing that he and his family will decide,” Marchand added. “I obviously pushed my case on him to come back. If he ever wanted to open up and talk about it, that’s up to him. But I wasn’t going to rush him.
Get the latest Boston sports news
Get updates on your favorite Boston teams, straight from our newsroom to your inbox.