It's definitely no surprise that the Boston Bruins have woken up following the firing of longtime head coach, Claude Julien back in February. They are currently sporting an 11-3-0 record in the last 14 games under interim Head Coach, Bruce Cassidy, and appear to clicking on all cylinders.
But what should be less of a surprise is this: All-Star forward, Brad Marchand, is right there at the top of this recent surge for the Boston Bruins. In 14 games under Cassidy, Marchand has 19 points (12 goals and 7 assists), and has put himself up there among the elite players in the NHL, despite the slow start to his 2016-17 campaign. But one question that has most certainly come into play is as follows: Is Brad Marchand the front-runner for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP?
In my unbiased opinion, I believe he's the most valuable player in the league to his team. In Boston's first 41 games, Marchand had just 31 points (10 goals and 21 assists). As a result of that slow start, the Bruins as a team went 21-17-3 (58.5 Point %) and were one of those bubble teams in a relatively weak conference at the time. In 28 games since, Marchand has 43 points (25 goals and 18 assists). During Marchand's recent stretch of utter dominance of the league, the Bruins are 16-9-2 (66.7 Point %) and have positioned themselves very nicely to make the playoffs as the third seed in the division (6th in the East).
Backtracking away from the dominant second half of the season for Marchand, let's take a look at his overall season's numbers. His 35 goals are tied for the league lead with Penguins star, Sidney Crosby, and his 74 points are good for a 2nd place tie in the league, only one behind Connor McDavid for the league lead in that category. So the production as a whole has been there, not just a good run of success.
In my opinion, the only competition for Brad Marchand is San Jose Sharks star defenseman, Brent Burns. Burn has had a season for the ages on the blue line for the defending Western Conference Champs, with 27 goals and 43 assists. But when I look at the case for Burns, I almost see it as a a pitcher's MVP case in the MLB. When I say that, I am referring to the fact that they already have their own award already. A defenseman has the Norris Trophy, which is given to the league's top defenseman. Kind of like the Cy Young award in baseball. It just wouldn't make sense for Burns to win both when there are a couple other standouts for the Hart.
So it's time to start looking at Brad Marchand as one of the best players in the league, if you're not already doing that. Because the man is an absolute menace and is single-handedly leading this Bruins team to the playoffs.