Patrice Bergeron’s Report Card With the Boston Bruins for the 2016-17 Regular Season
After a 2016-17 season that ended in heartbreak at the hands of the Ottawa Senators, it’s time to hand out report cards to each player on the Boston Bruins. Though the season was ultimately a failure in the sense that the team didn’t win the Stanley Cup, there were some positives to take away from the year. With the good, however, came the bad. Ideally, these report cards would have come out in late-May or early-June with a new set of rings to go along with them. That isn’t the case, though, and no Bruins evaluation would be complete without Patrice Bergeron. For that reason, he’s the only logical player to start the series with.
Bergeron, in short, was his usual dominant self. Though his season started off slowly in terms of offensive output, that changed in an instant in the second-half of the year when he broke out to the tune of 15 goals and 39 points in the final 40 games. In his first 39, Bergeron scored just eight goals and 14 points. It was certainly the tale of two seasons for the Bruins’ top center offensively, but he was still a rock in every other aspect of the game as fans have come to expect from No. 37.
Stat Line – G -21 – A – 32 – P – 53 – FO% – 60% – CF% – 61.1%
Value Beyond Point Production
When Bergeron was on the ice, other teams were left in fits. It’s demoralizing to play the game of hockey when you can’t take a shot on net. It’s even more demoralizing when you can’t possess the puck. When Bergeron and his linemates are on the ice, however, that is usually the case. No player had a higher Corsi-For Percentage (CF%) than Bergeron this year who finished with a league-leading 61.1 percent. Additionally, Bergeron took the third-most shots on net in the entire league this season with 302.
As is always the case, Bergeron also dominated the faceoff circle this season. He took a league-leading 1,812 faceoffs and won a league-leading 1,089. Bergeron can be relied on to take crucial defensive, neutral and offensive zone faceoffs whenever needed. He’s the type of player that coaches salivate over and would love to have in their lineup. Fortunately for the Bruins, he’s been a mainstay in the lineup since he was drafted in 2003.
Because of his heralded two-way ability, Bergeron is once again a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Award. Given to the best defensive forward each season, Bergeron’s name has been a lock among finalists for over half a decade. After six consecutive finalist appearances, Bergeron has a chance to chase history and tie Bob Gainey as the only player to win four Selke Awards in a career. No player better exemplifies what the Selke Trophy is about, and for that reason, Bergeron’s chances are good once again this season to take home some hardware.
Injured All Season
As previously noted, Bergeron started the season off slowly. That was likely due to him learning how to deal with a serious injury that he played through for the duration of the 2016-17 season. It seems impossible to even think about, but Bergeron played the entire year with a sports hernia. The injury may require offseason surgery to correct, but Bergeron didn’t let his teammates down when called upon all year despite the immense pain he was in throughout the season.
It’s a testament to Bergeron’s strength and willpower. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the smartest decision to play while injured to that extent for that long of a period, but Bergeron’s season became even that much more impressive once the injury was revealed. With 23 goals and 53 points in 79 games, Bergeron did what he does in a normal season while playing at significantly less than 100 percent. It’s just the player that he is, and it’s the reason Bruins fans are so lucky to have him.
Final Grade – A+
Though the season was a failure, Bergeron was still a superstar. Though he’ll never receive the credit he deserves around the year, nobody in Boston will ever question Bergeron’s heart. A legitimate top center who shined once again though dealing with adversity, the only appropriate grade is an A-plus.
The impressive thing about Bergeron is that he doesn’t need 30 goals or 60 points to receive a perfect grade. It’s everything else that he brings to the table that earns him his place atop the league as one of the elite. Respected among his teammates, opponents, fans and media, Bergeron is a gem in the NHL.