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Over/Under: Can Brad Marchand hit the century mark again this season?

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It was a season to remember...but can he do it again?

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Boston Bruins at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Over/Under is a season preview series with a pretty simple concept: pick some kind of number and predict whether or not the player will be over or under that mark. Discuss.

In yesterday’s post about David Pastrnak, we talked about statistical hockey milestones. When it comes to big numbers in the hockey world, few are as big as reaching the 100-point mark in a single season.

Brad Marchand hit that mark last season, becoming the first Bruin to reach 100 points since before the first lockout of this century (boy, the NHL sounds embarrassing when you have to specify which of this century’s lockouts it preceded).

Marchand has been good for a while, but reaching 100 points serves as a sort of validation for him: finally, people were going to be able to leave the “pest, agitator, dirty player” stuff in the past...or, at least as “in the past” as anything can ever be with Marchand.

When he broke into the league with the Bruins, he was viewed as an annoying energy guy, a guy who played with an edge and could occasionally put up points. His impressive performance in the 2011 Final got him on more radars, and he’s improved in nearly every season since then.

Over/Under: 100 points for Brad Marchand

It shouldn’t be a huge surprise, then, that he hit 100 points last season. After all, he scored at a 100+ point pace last year, but he couldn’t play a full season. Last year, he managed to avoid significant discipline, played all but 3 regular season games, and hit 100 points.

Now, the question is: can he do it again?

A lot has to go right for a player to hit 100 points. That player has to play with other talented guys, and needs to avoid missing more than a handful of games. Those two things hit for Marchand last season.

As mentioned above, he played in 79 games during the regular season. He also played with one of the game’s best two-way players as his center and with a near-40 goal scorer on the opposite wing. NOT BAD.

Still, duplicating a great season is rarely easy, and it’s only a matter of time before Marchand’s upward trajectory hits the ceiling. After all, you can’t improve on improvements forever, right?

Over if...

He stays healthy and gets a little more puck luck. The health one is kind of a cop-out of an answer, but it’s obviously crucial to stay healthy if you want to hit 100 points.

The puck luck one is a little more interesting. Statistically, Marchand’s shooting percentage last year was below average at 15.6%; he’s currently shooting 15.8% for his career, so it’s within reason.

Still, he shot 18.7% the year before that, preceded by 17.3% in 2017.

If he had split the difference and shot 18% last season, he would have scored around 5 more goals. Not all of this can truly be attributed to luck, of course, but it’s still interesting.

Under if...

There’s no denying that Marchand is an elite talent, so it shouldn’t be super surprising if he hits 100 points. The way I see it, there are two things that would seriously derail his chances: a return to the “old Marchand” ways or health issues for Patrice Bergeron.

“Bad Brad” is never going to leave Marchand’s game, nor should it if he wants to remain an effective player. He did a good job steering relatively clear of trouble last season, but as the jab to the back of the head of a Blue Jacket showed, he’ll probably never be able to completely avoid those kinds of incidents.

If you assume he’ll miss a game or two due to routine maintenance, any sort of run-in with the league would likely lead to playing 75ish games on the season, not ideal for reaching 100 points.

For Bergeron, there seems to be some concern about his health heading into the season. He was injured at the end of the playoffs, and apparently tweaked something this summer. He says he’ll be ready, but any sort of injury to Bergeron would not only decimate the Bruins, but also take a giant chunk out of Marchand’s mojo.

Poll

Regular season point total for Brad Marchand will be...

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    More than 100 points
    (47 votes)
  • 52%
    Less than 100 points
    (70 votes)
  • 12%
    Exactly 100 points
    (16 votes)
133 votes total Vote Now