BOSTON – Against the backdrop of an NHL lockout, the Boston Bruins agreed Friday to a four-year deal with forward Brad Marchand.

The feisty Marchand, 24, a key cog in the Bruins’ run to the 2011 Stanley Cup, will make $4.5 million per season starting in 2013-14. He is scheduled to make $3 million in the coming season, the last of his two-year contract.

Marchand had 28 goals and 27 assists last season as Boston won the Northeast Division but lost in the first round to Washington.

“His style of play, his persona, his timely goals and his amount of goals bring a great component to the Bruins,” General Manager Peter Chiarelli said. “It’s nice when you can sign a player like Brad who has worked his way up through the organization and plays the way we all enjoy watching him play.”

Marchand, who was a plus-31 last season, was drafted No. 71 overall in 2006, and has 49 goals and 48 assists in 173 career games.

REPRESENTATIVES FROM the NHL and players’ association held informal negotiations at the league offices in New York.

With the expiration date on the collective bargaining agreement — Sept. 15 — drawing near, the NHLPA executive director, Donald Fehr, and his top assistant and brother, Steve Fehr, sat with Commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy, Bill Daly, for a status check after a week of little to no communication. The sides last held formal discussions Aug. 31, but those ended with Donald Fehr telling reporters the talks were in a “recess.”

Players often have flanked the Fehrs for support, and Friday was no different. Winnipeg defenseman Ron Hainsey, Minnesota forward Zenon Konopka and Buffalo defenseman Robyn Regher were on hand.