Brad Marchand, who led the Bruins last season with a career-high 37 goals, is among the many candidates currently playing in the World Championships in Russia who hope to land a Team Canada roster spot for September’s World Cup in Toronto.
“That’s my mind-set,’’ said Oilers power forward and fellow Canadian Taylor Hall to the Toronto Sun last week. “I’d certainly love to be on that team.’’
Marchand and Hall are teammates right now in St. Petersburg in the ongoing World Championships. Marchand scored in each of Canada’s first two games — wins over the US and Hungary — but exited the lineup Monday when he was injured in the second period of an 8-0 thumping of Belarus.
Marchand, who will turn 28 Wednesday, sustained an elbow to the head in the second period and did not play in the third period for what Canada coach Bill Peters said were “precautionary’’ reasons.
Darren Dreger, TSN’s Hockey Insider, tweeted that Marchand’s injury was not related to the elbow shot.
“Aggravated a pretournament injury,’’ Dreger tweeted. “Team Canada staff expects he will be fine. Not related to hit in second period.’’
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said by email that Marchand suffered a minor lower-body injury.
Among the Bruins’ few consistent offensive performers this past season, Marchand has one year remaining on his contract ($4.5 million cap hit). The Bruins, who missed the playoffs this season for a second straight year, are expected to try to extend his contract this summer, likely with a long-term deal that would place him on a similar pay grade with veterans David Krejci ($7.25 million) and Patrice Bergeron ($6.875 million).
Both Krejci (Czech Republic) and Bergeron (Canada) have been named to their countries’ preliminary rosters (16 players total) for the World Cup. The Canadians did not name Marchand among their eight forwards a couple of months ago, but on June 1 they will add five more forwards to complete the roster.
Canada’s current stable of forwards includes Jeff Carter (Los Angeles), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim), Tyler Seguin (Dallas), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay), John Tavares (NY Islanders), Jonathan Toews (Chicago) and Bergeron.
“I think when you look at this team,’’ Marchand told NHL.com in March, “there’s a lot of phenomenal players on that roster.’’
Marchand this past season ranked an impressive No. 6 overall in NHL goal scoring, behind only Alexander Ovechkin (50), Patrick Kane (46), Jamie Benn (41), Vladimir Tarasenko (40) and Joe Pavelski (38). Fellow Canadian Benn will be among Marchand’s stiffest competition for a World Cup roster spot.
His sometimes overzealous style could hurt Marchand’s chances of making coach Mike Babcock’s elite Canadian squad. To be effective, he needs to play with grit and agitate the opposition, but sometimes he goes too far. Case in point: his clip of Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki in late December, a transgression that earned Marchand a three-game suspension, rendering him ineligible for the Jan. 1 Winter Classic against Montreal at Gillette Stadium.
Watch: Marchand clips Borowiecki:
Provided he returns as expected to World Championship play, the pesky Marchand will help his chances of making the final cut if he can continue to help Canada fill up the net. In a league that has seen goal-scoring continue to drop over the last 8-10 years, Marchand’s ability to average nearly 30 goals a season, often aided by his quick release, could set him apart from other wingers.