While the rest of the hockey world may be scratching their heads over Team Canada's decision to place Brad Marchand on the first forward line at the World Cup of Hockey, the Bruins shouldn't be.
Last season was a career year for Marchand with 61 points while scoring 37 goals and adding 24 assists. It was the second consecutive season Marchand led Boston in the goal-scoring department with 24 in the 2014-15 season.
Marchand has been Boston's goal-scorer. And while he hasn't solidified a 40-goal season, the Bruins still need a player of his caliber.
Team Canada saw what the Bruins see in Marchand on a regular basis. He brings grit, tenacity, and simply being a player you love to play with but hate to play against. His goal-scoring perception is advancing as the years go by and as the Bruins continue to lack a pure goal-scorer.
Even with the addition of David Backes over the off-season, Marchand's role stays the same. The Bruins need him to score. That's exactly what Team Canada is looking for by flanking him with some of the best in the game in Bergeron and Crosby.
The World Cup of Hockey will be the ultimate showcasing of Marchand. As a top-six forward, he'll have hefty minutes and plenty of opportunities to expose his talent against the world's best.
And now as Marchand skates for his country, he's also entering the final season of his contract with the Bruins.
The 28-year-old in entering the final year of his four-year, $18.5 million contract. In the past, the Bruins approach contract years swiftly. Under former general manager Peter Chiarelli, players had the perquisite of some sense of job security and a fresh new contract. Back in 2014, both Reilly Smith and Torey Krug entered their contract year with ease after both earning new deals early in the season.
For Marchand, a deal is very likely looming. The Bruins could refine their approach to contract years by letting Marchand play out the season without a deal. It's a way to give players incentive to attribute more to the team, something Chiarelli believed otherwise. And with Marchand's rise to the World Cup of Hockey, his price tag may have just gone up even more.
Christopher Bokum can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBokum