Perhaps the greatest two-way forward in the NHL of all time has decided to hang up his skates.
Patrice Bergeron, one of the Boston Bruins’ all-time greatest players, has announced his retirement after 19 seasons in the league.
In his final season with the Bruins, he had 27 goals and 31 assists for 58 points in 78 games, captaining them to the best regular season in NHL history, finishing with 65 wins and 135 points. While they were not able to win the Stanley Cup in the end, Bergeron eventually won his record-extending sixth Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward.
Bergeron Was a Special Player with Boston Bruins
There are not many players like Bergeron who were drafted in the middle of the second round and then jump immediately to the NHL and make an instant impact.
Bergeron was drafted 45th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, and he took the immediate step to the NHL at 18 years old. In his rookie year, he scored 16 goals and 23 assists for 39 points while averaging over 16 minutes a night, then improved on that vastly in his sophomore year, with 31 goals and 42 assists for 73 points while establishing himself as a true top-six center.
When he turned 24, he made his first appearance on the Selke Trophy balloting, and he didn’t look back from there. He went on to set the standard for defensive play in the NHL.
He has also been one of the best faceoff players in the NHL, having led the league in faceoff win percentage four times, and with a career faceoff win percentage of 58.9%.
Bergeron Was Like a Co-Captain for the Bruins
While Bergeron would be the captain of the Bruins for just the final three seasons of his career, he was like a co-captain throughout the time when Zdeno Chára was captain. Bergeron has long been viewed as one of the best leaders in the NHL, having won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2012-13 and the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2020-21.
He has exemplified what it means to be a Boston Bruin, and he would always come in motivating his teammates to be better every day, with every game and every practice, and have them be prepared for the next game.
While he doesn’t have the offensive production of dynamic centers like Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid, there is something else that makes Bergeron a truly valuable centerpiece to the Bruins: Hard work. While a lot of players may not have the natural scoring talents that the high-flying centers may possess, Bergeron was a role model that other players can follow.
His bargain contracts have created a team-friendly structure during the salary cap era to keep the contending teams coming, and a lot of players on the Bruins have seen their games improve every passing day under Bergeron’s leadership. Many teams in the NHL want to establish a team culture that emphasizes on selflessness, excellence, and winning. Bergeron embodied that culture with the Bruins on and off the ice.
The End of an Era in Boston
As the Bruins are less than three months away from their centennial season, this marks the end of an era for the franchise. Bergeron will no doubt continue to be part of the Boston Bruins community, and he will be remembered as one of the greatest leaders and competitors the franchise has seen.
He finishes his career with 427 goals and 613 assists for 1,040 points in 1,294 games, along with 50 goals and 78 assists for 128 points in 170 playoff games. During his time with the Bruins, the team won three Prince of Wales Trophies, three Presidents’ Trophies, and their first Stanley Cup since 1972 in 2011. During the Stanley Cup run, Bergeron had 20 point sin 23 games, including the Stanley Cup-winning goal.
On the international stage, Bergeron represented Canada, where he at times formed one of the more lethal two-way lines with Crosby and longtime linemate Brad Marchand. Bergeron won two gold medals in the Winter Olympics in 2010 and 2014, as well as in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Bergeron now gets to enjoy his retirement after having one of the most successful careers in NHL history. He has the respect of his peers around the league, and there is no doubt that he will have his jersey number retired by the Bruins and that he would have his name called for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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