The Question of Age and Patrice Bergeron for the Boston Bruins

NHL Predictions; Patrice Bergeron
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 10: Boston Bruins Center Patrice Bergeron (37) and Pittsburgh Penguins Center Sidney Crosby (87) battle during the second period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins on March 10, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Patrice Bergeron has been a model of the complete hockey player in his entire 16-year NHL career. Not only does he provide offencive consistency from the centre of the “Perfection Line”, but he dominates the opposition in the defencive end. There has been almost no one who does it as well as he does in the history of the NHL. But eventually, father time will catch up with everyone. Bergeron is now 34 years old and in the back end of his career. Can he maintain his stellar play over the next five years?

Can Patrice Bergeron’s Skills Translate as he Gets Older?

Bergeron’s ability to play in the defensive zone is incredible. He plays close to his man and always has his stick on the ice ready to break up passes. Winning the faceoff is a specialty of his, winning 58.2% of all draws in his career. These talents can all remain at a high level in the later years of his career. We have seen players like David Backes be relegated to a mainly defensive role and find some level of success doing just that. Bergeron needs to maintain his high level of defensive awareness and so that his skills in his own end will never be in doubt.

While Bergeron is highly revered for his ability to lock down opposing scorers, his scoring ability has been a more average skill throughout his career. His career-high in points was 79 last season. While that rate is nothing to scoff at and is highly impressive, it is not enough to classify him as one of the NHL’s premier scorers. And while scoring ability rapidly declines as a player ages, Bergeron is lucky enough to have a little bit of help prolonging that aspect of his game.

The Supports

Let’s not forget that no single player can control a hockey game. Bergeron has a supporting cast better than most do. The chemistry that Bergeron has developed with Brad Marchand is incredible. The two of them know where the other is going to be at all times. Their play together is instinctive. It is almost as if their minds operate on the same wavelength. 

You also have David Pastrnak on the other side. His raw talent is enough to get the opposing defence to key in on him. While Bergeron and Marchand are more established, Pastrnak is making a name for himself. With his natural scoring ability, teams cannot afford to leave him open. This attention leaves Bergeron open to play at his highest level. With that entire line signed through the 2022-23 season, Bergeron should maintain his current level of play until then.

What Makes Patrice Bergeron Different from Other Aging Stars

Bergeron has had a successful career with the Boston Bruins. The fact he plays for that organization puts him in a very unique situation. He already has a Stanley Cup from 2011. While he surely wants another one, he already has it on his resume. The Bruins are in a championship window now with a lot of young talent. Bergeron can continue to be a large contributor to their success but in the near future, they may not have to rely on him to carry the load. Players like Pastrnak and Jake Debrusk can take the reigns from Bergeron and be the engine behind the success of this franchise.

When you look at other players who are pushing for a cup, like Joe Thornton, they have not had the kind of luck Patrice Bergeron has. In San Jose Sharks‘ most competitive years in the past few seasons, Thornton was relied upon to be a key cog of their offence. While they had other pieces like Logan Couture and Brent Burns, Thornton was still an important part of their success. Bergeron is in a position where he can still win another championship but there are enough pieces around him where he does not have to do it all himself.

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