SCOC Rating: 9.8
Reader Rating: 9.4
What is there to say about Patrice Bergeron at this point?
You expected a strong season, and that’s exactly what you got: a strong season in Bergeron’s first go-round as captain of the Bruins.
Bergeron was, once again, the anchor of one of the league’s most productive lines. He remained a remarkably effective player in all situations, particularly on the penalty kill.
His points-per-game rate was down slightly over last season, but he still managed to eclipse the 20-goal mark for the eighth consecutive season (and the 11th time in the last 12 seasons).
Bergeron was a Selke Award finalist for the tenth consecutive season as well, finishing second for the second year in a row.
He also posted the best faceoff winning percentage of his NHL career at 62.2%, and put up an impressive 2.6 PTS/60 at even strength, tied for the second-best rate of his NHL career.
Bergeron’s performance didn’t dip in the playoffs either, as he netted nine points in the Bruins’ 11 games.
Overall, it gets a little repetitive, doesn’t it? You expect Bergeron to be awesome, and...he’s awesome. World keeps spinning.
Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak continue to elevate one another’s play in just about every aspect of the game.
You could argue a few years ago that Bergeron was the reason Marchand was playing so well, and you could similarly argue that Bergeron’s offensive numbers are only so strong due to Marchand and Pastrnak.
Of course, a slowdown is inevitable, even for a guy like Bergeron — he can’t be an elite three-zone player forever.
The Bruins, perhaps realizing that Bergeron is going to turn 37 shortly after next season ends, seem to know that they can’t lean too heavily on their captain indefinitely.
Bergeron’s 18:13 ATOI was the lowest total of his career, 31 seconds a game lower than last season and more than a minute lower than three seasons ago.
Of course, this isn’t to say that he’s playing minor minutes now; he’s still the Bruins’ most reliable three-zone player and looks to remain such for the foreseeable future.
However, Bergeron’s played hard minutes for more than a decade, and isn’t getting any younger. The Bruins would be wise to cut back on those minutes whenever they can.
Bergeron and the B’s are heading into a weird spot going into this season: Bergeron’s contract is up at the end of the year.
Much like they faced with David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, and Zdeno Chara, the Bruins are going to have to decide what to do with Bergeron.
This isn’t to say that they’ll need to decide whether or not to bring him back, as not doing so would be complete insanity.
Instead, the B’s are faced with deciding how many years and how much money they’re going to commit to a soon-to-be 37 year old.
Given how important Bergeron is to the Bruins, it’s pretty fair to say “just give him what he wants.”
Ideally, that’s what we get — we could all use a few more years of Bergeron greatness, and there’s little reason to suspect we’ll get anything different.
Still, it might be a good idea to not take this greatness for granted.
After all, as we’ve seen recently, all cores eventually move on.