(This post was originally written as a FanPost by Erin Walsh. She’s going to be coming on board as a writer, so we decided to put it here instead.)
Patrice Bergeron has long been one of the NHL’s best defensive forwards. The four-time Selke Trophy Award winner is on pace to win his fifth this season, which would break the tie with Bob Gainey for most all time.
But why isn’t Bergeron currently in the running for the Hart Trophy? In recent years, the Hart seems to be awarded to the player who records the most points. However, that’s not what the award is about. The Hart Memorial Trophy should be awarded to the person who is most valuable to his team, regardless of points scored.
Patrice Bergeron has, without a doubt, been invaluable to the Bruins so far this season. With 20 goals and 20 assists for 40 points in 41 games played, Bergeron is on pace to have the best season of his career (his previous high was 73 points in 2005-2006).
Centering the best line in hockey, Bergeron has been incredibly valuable to his team and to that line combination. The Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line has combined for 135 points so far this season, there was no real sign of them slowing down until Marchand went and got himself suspended.
Bergeron is a terrific penalty killer and has recorded one shorthanded goal this season. He’s great on the power play as well, with seven power play goals and six power play assists on the season. He also has three game winning goals and has won 511 faceoffs this season, with plenty of those faceoffs coming in key situations.
After sweeping the three-game mini series with Montreal, Bergeron’s former coach Claude Julien had some nice words to say about the Bergeron/Marchand combination: “If I knew I had to face them like this now, I would’ve kept them separated all those years.”
With all this being said, why is it that Bergeron isn’t being considered a true Hart contender? Mainly because bigger names like Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, and even Auston Matthews are having better than point-per-game seasons. Points get votes, so if he’s not pushing for the league scoring lead, it will be tough for the rest of the NHL to recognize Bergeron as being most valuable to his team.
Recording two hat tricks this season will certainly get some headlines, but it probably won’t be good enough for Bergeron to edge the other candidates, and that’s truly disappointing. In my opinion, the player who is most valuable to his team should be someone who not only can put up points when needed, but can be a leader on and off the ice. He has the points this year, always has the intangibles, and anyone that has seen Bergeron play knows that he is a true leader and is in line to take over captaincy when Zdeno Chara retires.
The NHL is all about points; we all know it. And even though Bergeron has plenty of points so far this season, there are guys who are going to finish the season with more. If you consider the spirit of the award, Bergeron should be in contention for the Hart Memorial Trophy; instead, because of how things run in the NHL nowadays, he likely won’t even be in the running.
Instead, we’ll see guys like Nikita Kucherov and McDavid be nominated and one of those two will most likely win due to their high offensive output.
But Bergeron should at least be considered for this prestigious award, because he has truly been Boston’s most valuable player, as well as being the player most valuable to his team in the entire Eastern Conference.