September 14, 2011
He was trying to sign a 23-year-old forward with 21 goals and 20 assists in 77 games, and then 19 points in 25 playoff games before getting his name on the Stanley Cup; a player with intangible value beyond the box score; and a player that has seen his peers in his age group, like James van Riemsdyk(notes) ($4.25 million against the cap) and Logan Couture(notes) ($2.875 million), cash in this summer.
So getting Marchand in at 2 years and $5 million — $2 million this season and $3 million in 2012-13, for a $2.5-million cap hit — is a victory for Chiarelli, but also a smart decision for Marchand.
His trajectory could lead to a windfall when he's 26 and an unrestricted free agent. There was no way he was breaking the bank on this contract. He's in that no-man's land between being a very, very good young player and being a building block for the team's future. Better to make a reasonable salary, get into camp and start fulfilling the promise of last postseason.
Could he have gotten more? Sure. Was he going to get more? No. Chiarelli was playing hardball here — glad we're not the only ones to notice the "Bruins shopping Marchand" scuttlebutt originated from Chiarelli's old stomping grounds in Ottawa.
A $2.5 million average salary is nothing to sneeze at. Hell, it's $416,666 for every punch landed on a Sedin in the playoffs.