(Editor’s note: This is the first of the “combined player ratings” posts I mentioned in a recent Morning Skate. These won’t be as in-depth as some others, but will at least give us a chance to wrap this series up.)
Patrice Bergeron in 2023
78 GP, 27G, 31A, 58PTS, 61.1 FO%, 59.9 CF% (5v5)
Reader rating: 8.3
Writer rating: 8.2
It wasn’t how anyone wanted Patrice Bergeron’s NHL career to end, but the Bruins’ first-round flameout was the final act in a storied Bruins career.
Bruins fans were optimistic that Bergeron would return, and with good reason: as the numbers and ratings above indicate, he was still very much near the top of his game.
The offensive numbers may have cooled a bit (Bergeron’s PPG mark was his lowest since 2016-17), but Bergeron very much remained the elite two-way forward we’ve come to know over the last two decades.
That he capped his NHL career with another Selke Trophy win is a nice feather in his cap, cementing Bergeron as the best defensive forward of his generation (and arguably one of the best two-way players).
Things got a little cloudy for Bergeron in the Florida series, as he was kept out of action for much of the series due to injury and certainly wasn’t himself once he returned.
Bergeron managed just a single goal in three games, and while I’m aware of the issues with this stat, he was a shocking minus-6 in those games.
This year’s playoffs ended up being the only time in his playoff career that he finished a postseason underwater (he had one minus regular season back in the 2006-07 dark ages).
In many ways, Bergeron’s final season was emblematic of most of his career: kind of a “ho hum” reaction to another fantastic season.
He eclipsed 20 goals for the 10th season in a row. He regularly played against the opposition’s best players, did yeoman’s work in all three zones, etc. We already mentioned the Selke too.
We’ll all likely appreciate Bergeron’s greatness a little bit more with the benefit of looking back — absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?
While we all wish Bergeron had signed on for one more season, it’s not the worst thing to go out while you’re still near your best.
Happy trails, captain.
David Krejci in 2023
70 GP, 16G, 40A, 56PTS, 44PTS (even strength), 48.4 CF% (5v5)
Reader rating: 6.8
Writer rating: 6
For the most part, David Krejci’s return to the NHL last season was fine — and that’s reflected in the 6 and 6.8 ratings above.
Those figures indicate that few of us were blown away by Krejci’s production, but he wasn’t bad either.
Sometimes, he looked like a guy who took a year off to play in the Czech league. Other times, it was 2019 again and Vintage Krejci was killing it.
When last season came to an end, however, it seemed like there was a consensus among most fans: Krejci was done in the NHL and we were all kind of fine with it.
This isn’t to imply that he was washed up, as he still produced at a pace nearing a point per game and was an effective player for the Bruins.
Instead, it always seemed like Krejci was going to come back and give it one last shot, then ride into the Czech or South Carolina sunset.
It was fun to watch him play with the Czech Mates, just as it was fun to watch him play with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton and countless others over the course of his Bruins career.
Krejci had an OK playoffs too, probably about as “fine” as any Bruin.
When you look at it, the ratings for Krejci and Bergeron here kind of mirror their perception among Bruins fans: Bergeron is (rightly) revered and Krejci is always just a tiny bit underrated.
After all, Krejci’s points-per-game number was better than Bergeron’s last year. He contributed more even strength offense as well.
Yes, Bergeron was a better all-around player and Krejci benefited from David Pastrnak, but close to two full points lower in terms of rating?
Kind of a nice snapshot of Krejci’s career perception.
Ultimately, both of these guys had good seasons — and it’s a shame that their careers ended in shambolic fashion, especially when each spent his entire NHL career in Boston.
Both guys were pillars of this franchise, and it was a pleasure to see them operate for another season (especially in Krejci’s return case).