$18 million can buy a lot of shirts. Or if shirts aren't your thing, a lot of fedoras.
The Boston Bruins are the latest team to sneak a RFA contract extension in ahead of the Sept. 15 CBA expiration date, inking diminutive forward Brad Marchand to a four-year, $18 million deal.
The contract is a $2 million raise on Marchand's current deal, which was set to expire at the end of the 2012-13 season. The deal makes him the fourth-highest-paid skater on the Bruins after Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.
It's a lot of money, but Marchand has accomplished a lot with the Bruins in just two seasons. From the Boston Herald:
The 5-foot-9, 183-pound Marchand registered a career high in goals (28), assists (27) and points (55) last season. He also had 87 penalty minutes in 76 games. he finished the season with a plus-31 rating, ranking him fifth in the league. The previous season, his first in the NHL, Marchand earned the team's "7th Player Award" for exceeding expectations.
For his career, Marchand has played 173 games for the Bruins, with 49 goals, 48 assists and 97 points with 158 penalty minutes and a plus-53 rating. His postseason totals are 12 goals and 9 assists in 32 games.
This is, of course, on top of helping lead the team to a Stanley Cup as a rookie.
Now, it's possible that GM Peter Chiarelli is banking on a salary rollback reducing the $4.5 million cap hit on this deal, something we've speculated other GMs might be attempting to do with all these unexpected, early RFA extensions. But it's also possible this is just Chiarelli getting an early start on his 2013 summer.
Marchand's spot at number four is likely to be ousted before the deal even kicks in. Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic are both set to become restricted free agents at the same time, and Nathan Horton and Andrew Ference will be unrestricted. That's a lot of core guys to lock up. I'd start early too.
Marchand's deal is about half a million more than both Lucic and Horton make now. Might Chiarelli attempt to sign both to similar deals?