You can love Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand or hate him. But you can never ignore him.
Marchand is 33 and is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career. He’s on a pace to score 40 or more goals in a season for the first time. He has 20 goals and 43 points in 31 games. The Bruins have 46 games left. Barring injury, Marchand should at least produce his fifth season of scoring 30 or more goals.
If you look inside his numbers, they are even more impressive. If you look at the advanced stat of expected goals vs. goals scored, Marchand’s expected goals are only 12.7 and he sits with 20 goals. Of his 23 assists, 16 are primary assists.
If you divide his 835 games by 82 games, Marchand has played the equivalent of 10.18 seasons. He has essentially averaged about 33 goals per full season.
And he has done all of that while infuriating plenty of opponents and fans. His antics are impossible to defend, even by teammates who like him.
But his latest bit of edginess had humor attached. It started when a Carolina reporter asked Carolina center Vince Trocheck whether his playing style was similar to Marchand’s?
“Are you calling me a rat,”Trocheck asked the reporter.
Trocheck and Marchand have history. And when that exchange hit social media, Marchand responded with an instagram post that included a comparison of their statistics. Obviously, Trocheck’s numbers don’t measure up to Marchand’s statistics
Marchand titled the post: “This is like comparing a Lambo to a Prius.” (Marchand has since deleted the post).
The Hurricanes have a sassy social media presence. When the Hurricanes thumped the Bruins 7-1, they posted “L stands for Lamborghini.”
Of course Marchand wanted the last word, picking on the Hurricanes for their attendance.”You’re still the reason we play 20% in escrow.”
2. Carolina GM Don Waddell said he really likes his team to the point that he doesn’t feel like he has to make a trade.
3.The Detroit Red Wings and Seattle Kraken are two teams willing to retain salary cap on trades they make or willing to serve as the third party to help reduce a cap hit for someone in a three-team. That’s important because the Kraken will move Mark Giordano and the Red Wings can move Nick Leddy.
4. One of Montreal GM Kent Hughes’ first big moves will be to get the best possible return for Ben Chiarot. Because Chiarot is only a $3.5 million salary cap hit, he may get a first round pick, plus another asset.
5. Based on what has occurred in Pittsburgh, Vancouver and Montreal, is the one GM leadership set-up going the way of the Dodo bird? Seems like we are moving toward the idea that two heads are better than one in team management. Is it a fad or a trend? Much too early to tell.
6. One of the hardest GMs to read is Colorado’s Joe Sakic. You are never quite sure what he might do. The same is true of Steve Yzerman and Lou Lamoriello. But with both of those executives you can bet they will be aggressive, even if you don’t know who they are interested in.
7. We are all talking about Marc-Andre Fleury being traded to a contender like Colorado.That’s because it could be entertaining to see him make a final run. But we have to consider he may just ride off into the sunset and call it a career. He has always been a family-first kind of guy.
8. Colorado defenseman Cale Makar has 16 goals in 33 games this season. Nick Lidstrom is arguably one of three greatest defensemen in NHL history and he only had more than 16 goals in a season four times in a career that spanned two decades. What Makar is doing is special.
9. As the Chicago Blackhawks move into the third month of pondering who to hire to be either general manager or director of hockey operations, Eddie Olczyk still seems to me to be the best choice. Quality person. Immensely popular. Highly qualified.
10. Keep an eye on U.S. National Team Development Program player Jimmy Snuggerud as a possible top 10 pick for the 2022 NHL draft. He has 16 goals and 38 points in 33 games for Team USA. He is the son of former NHLer Dave Snuggerud. Jimmy’s grandfather, James Westby, played for the Americans at the World Championships in the 1950s.
11. Igor Shesterkin’s importance to the Rangers can’t be overstated. Only six teams have given up more shots on goal than the Rangers and Shesterkin leads the NHL with a .924 save percentage. Shesterkin deserves MVP consideration.
12. The New York Rangers are playing well and are expected to be a buyer at the deadline. Former New York Rangers defenseman Tom Laidlaw said on our podcast this week that he thinks it would be better for the organization long-term to let this group sink or swim together. Laidlaw likes the Rangers’ chemistry. He believes they will learn from the experience. The only player he would add is a depth defenseman. Is he right or wrong?
13. The Carolina Hurricanes are third in faceoff percentage (54.3%), first in penalty kill (90.1%), first in goals-against average (2.25) and fourth in scoring (3.50 per game). They are also hard to play against. This team is ready for the playoffs.
14. Should you be able to say you have no interest in the NHL All-Star game and then complain about who does, or doesn’t make, the All-Star rosters?
15. Why isn’t there more discussion about the possibility Johnny Gaudreau can leave as a UFA this summer if the Calgary Flames don’t get him signed?
16. On this date 33 years ago, Mario Lemieux scored his 50th goal in the 44th game of the season. On this date 40 years ago, Wayne Gretzky became the first player under 21 to have 12 career hat tricks. The Great One had three goals and two assists in an 8-6 win against St. Louis. On this date 52 years ago, Gordie Howe scored his 10th and final NHL All-Star goal. Back then, All-Star games were competitive.
17. Anaheim’s Trevor Zegras and Detroit’s Lucas Raymond are receiving plenty of Calder Trophy attention. Rightfully so. You can make a case for either. But don’t forget about Detroit defenseman Moritz Seider who is already Detroit’s No. 1 defenseman or Nashville’s Tanner Jeannot who has 12 goals and ranks among the league leaders in hits. Plus, keep an eye on Florida's Anton Lundell. He will have a strong second half.
18. Florida’s Anthony Duclair is tied for 11th in the NHL with 14 even-strength goals. He’s tied for third in plus-minus at +27. The consensus opinion was wrong about Duclair.
19. The Golden Knights owner Bill Foley said Jack Eichel could be back in a “few weeks.” Coach Pete DeBoer said he could still be out another two months. That’s nothing more than wishful thinking colliding with a more educated guess.
20. Hearing the Los Angeles Kings want to make a high impact acquisition to strengthen their playoff outlook. The Kings have missed the playoffs four of the past five seasons.
21. According to the advanced stats on IcyData.com, New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin is having the best goaltending season in terms of goals prevented above the average NHL goaltender. Shesterkin has prevented 34.97 more goals than an average NHL goalie. Nashville’s Juuse Saros (32.35) is second and Toronto’s Jack Campbell (30.85) is third.
22. By the way, Seattle goalie Philipp Grubauer is having the worst season by this measurement. His number on that IcyData is -7.56. Joonas Korpisalo of Columbus is right above him at -5.24.
23. If the Kings want Jakob Chychrun, they have plenty of assets to satisfy the Coyotes’ needs.
24. Gemel and Givani Smith are the first brother combination to play at the same time on the Detroit Red Wings since Frank and Peter Mahovlich played together in 1969. Bryan and Dennis Hextall both played on the 1975-76 Red Wings team, but not at the same. The Red Wings traded Bryan in November of 1975 and Dennis didn’t join the team until February of 1976.
25. Thirty-two years ago today the Los Angeles Kings traded Bernie Nicholls to the New York Rangers for Tony Granato and Tomas Sandstrom. Two years before, Nicholls scored 70 goals for the Kings. Nicholls turns 61 in June. He’s back in his hometown of West Guilford, Ontario. He’s a scratch golfer and does a lot of hunting.