Byline: Bud Barth
The Bruins can't do anything about the upcoming NHL season slowly circling the drain, but they can look to the future, which they did yesterday by signing pesky forward Brad Marchand to a four-year, $18 million contract extension that will keep him in Boston through the 2016-17 season.
The 24-year-old left wing, who helped the B's to a Stanley Cup championship as a rookie in 2010-11, will earn $4.5 million a year in the new deal - $2 million more than his cap hit this season in the final year of his current deal.
That, of course, is assuming the NHL labor situation eventually gets settled and the 2012-13 season is played.
The signing eases the crunch the Bruins will face next summer when several players face potential free agency, including Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Tuukka Rask and Jordan Caron (restricted) and Nathan Horton and Andrew Ference (unrestricted).
Marchand would have been in that group as well.