When Patrice Bergeron announced his retirement from the Boston Bruins, it left many voids that are going to be tough to fill. They are going to need to replace him as the center on their top-line and that is going to be a big enough void to fill. They also have to fill the leadership role and on Wednesday, the first day of training camp, they did that by naming Brad Marchand their next captain.
To no surprise, the Bruins on social media made the announcement of their next captain and the 27th in team history. It should not be a surprise to many people and despite there being multiple options, this is one that Boston got right.
Marchand Was Always the Next Captain in Waiting
This is a decision that a lot around the league are looking at saying, “Marchand, really?” Well, he is the longest-tenured Bruin now, which should have no bearing on being named captain, but the left wing has spent all 14 years of his career in Boston and has learned from some of the best leaders ahead of him in Zdeno Chara and Bergeron, the only two captains since 2006 for the Bruins. Marchand was part of the 2011 Stanley Cup championship with both of his former teammates.
He has played in 947 career regular season games and was always looked at as the next captain of the Bruins and look for him to continue the tradition of the captains before him. It just wasn’t the guy with the “C” that always spoke up, but it was done as a collective group and expect Marchand to continue that tradition.
“What the guys in the past have done is they did it as a group,” Marchand said. “They were so good at bringing a group of guys together, having everyone believe the same goal, having a common goal together and believing in it. … There’s no team in any sport that can have one guy dictate what a team does, but it’s how they’re able to bring a group together. And again, that’s what our captains in the past have done and our leadership groups in the past have done, is they’ve been able to lead by numbers and strength in numbers.
“So we’re gonna have to do that again this year.”
Marchand, who finished second on the Bruins last season with 67 points in 73 games after missing the beginning of the season recovering from offseason double hip surgery, joins a group of captains in Boston along with Chara and Bergeron that also includes Johnny Bucyk (1966-67 and 1973-77), Ray Bourque (1985-2000), and Joe Thornton (2002-05).
Bruins Other Captain Options Will Have Their Day
Two other logical options for the Bruins to name captain were Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak. Two key parts to the future core of the Bruins are players who will have their day sooner rather than later. Both are signed long-term in Boston and both have captain qualities. Wednesday, Bruins President Cam Neely said that both players will wear the “A” this season.
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Marchand is 35 years old and like Chara and Bergeron, is not going to be around forever. He still has two years remaining on his contract that carries a $6.125 million average annual value (AAV) and when that deal is up, it would not be surprising to see him retire. He’ll be 37 years old and have a lot of mileage in the NHL of over 1,000 games played.
At that point, McAvoy or Pastrnak will be ready to assume the leadership in Boston, but right now it’s Machand’s turn and despite it most likely being an unpopular decision across the NHL, it’s the right one for Boston. He does have a lot of leadership qualities and is the perfect player to lead them into the future. Again, this was always a no-brainer and a decision that should not come as no surprise to anyone in or out of Boston.