This past week I reached on twitter out to ask who you wanted to read about. The winner was 5'9" Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins. The 23-year-old rookie has impressed the hockey world most recently with his strong play in the postseason and will fight for his first Stanley Cup in a few short days.
Drafted 71st overall in the 2006 Entry Draft, Marchand was merely a point-per-game player in the QMJHL. After his draft year, Brad would do what many others would – take the added confidence and elevate his game. In the 2006-07 season, Marchand scored 80 points in 57 games and even added 108 penalty minutes. Of his 33 goals, three were shorthanded and six were game-winners. He would follow that season up with 73 points in 59 games, while splitting between Val-d'Or and Halifax. Of his 31 goals, four were shorthanded and seven were game-winners.
In the first two years after being drafted, not only did Marchand increase his point production in the QMJHL, he also had the privilege of representing his country in the under-20 World Juniors. He would score only two goals in his first year followed by four goals and two assists the next, a year in which he was also named alternate captain on a team that featured Turris, Tavares, Giroux, and Stamkos. Brad and his teammates would strike gold both tournaments.
Although Marchand had signed his entry-level contract in 2007, he didn't make the Bruins out of camp and was forced to skate another year in the Q. Entering the 2008-09 season, the 20 year-old was ready to start his professional career and hope to build on his success. Many players have thrived at the QMJHL level only to flop in the professional leagues so this would be no easy task. Marchand would play admirably for Providence however, scoring 59 points in 79 games and adding 15 more in 16 playoff games.
Now 21 years old, Marchand had the Bruins full attention. He would start the year in Providence, but by October 21st, he was already called back up and skating in his first NHL game. Brad would register a primary assist that night on a goal by Michael Ryder, but he was unable to score a point in the following 11 matchups. In mid-November, Marchand was sent back to Providence, where he'd remain until March. Brad would not score another point the entire season and wouldn't see any time in the playoffs. While in the American league, he scored 32 points in 34 games, but in the National league, frustration had kicked in.