I am a big believer in earning things when it comes to sports. Patrik Berglund has not been one of those players that has earned a whole lot throughout his time here with the Blues in my eyes. I dont think that Berglund is a bad players I just think that he plays scared. Bergie was a first round draft pick of the Blues back in 2006 and 5 years later, he has not played up to par. His rookie season was probably the best and his play has tapered on and off since then. He went through a sophmore slump and his productivity was cut almost in half. His junior campaign he rebounded and had a career high of 52 points. But this year in his “break out season” he has failed to show up after the first few games.
Berglund started the season with 3 points in 3 games but since then he has played 20 more games and only totaled another 4 points. My major beef with Berglund is that he doesnt realize that he is 6′ 4”. Patrik could be one of the biggest baddest meanest centers in the sport but he plays afraid. There are guys on this team, specifically Vlady Sobotka, that are half the size of Berglund but go out and bust their ass every single shift and throw their body around to make plays. Berglund seems to skate around in a daze, he looks confused when getting back on defense. I know he is young but right now he would be my number one candidate to be involved in a mid season trade.
Another thing that I could see happening to Berglund would be getting benched for a game or two. Get him mad and riled up so he starts playing with some passion. Honestly, like I said at the beginning of all this, I personally feel like Berglund hasnt earned much in his time here. There were multiple times during his entry level contract that I would have liked him to be sent down to Peoria to get a better handle on his game. He was given a roster spot because he happened to start when the Blues were still struggling and not a very good team. Not to say Berglund isnt a good player, he has a tremendous upside but he needs to realize that.
One change that couldnt hurt would be to switch him away from center. Berglund doesnt play a full 200 foot game as it is on most nights. He struggles in his own zone and has been a minus player since his rookie season when he was a plus 19 somehow. With a guy like David Backes on your team who isnt afraid to go get dirty in his own zone and then turn right back around at full speed and skate all the way down to the other end that should be the standard in St Louis and Berglund does not do that. Berglund seems to struggle on faceoffs as well. Whenever I am paying attention he seems to do horribly on the dot. There have been only 8 games this season where Berglund was above 50% on faceoffs. The games he does do well he really excels and that saves him. His faceoff % on the season is only a shade under 50 at 49.1.
His size would be excellent on the PP, which the Blues could really use on the second unit now. However, when he is out on the PP he shys away from the front of the net and sticks to the boards around the faceoff circles. Through his first 3 complete seasons Berglund skated in 228 games and recorded 125 points. To compare that to a few other well known Swede’s, the Sedin brothers through their first 3 seasons didnt compare to Berglund. Henrik played 242 games in his first 3 years and only scored 104 points. His brother Daniel skated in 233 games and tallied only 97 points. Look at them now, both are easily point per game players. So here is the question. Do you be patient with Berglund even know he is frustrating right now? Do you ship him off and maybe the change in scenery sparks his game? Does he benefit from some time on the bench? If he continues to play this poorly he may not get that option. Hitchcock will give him the Andy Murray treatment and either bench Bergie or give him next to no playing time until he plays better. Berglund better step up and start to perform or he may get on Doug Armstrongs bad side to. As the team saw last year with “untradeable” Erik Johnson (I was praying to trade him though, I may have been the only one) nobody is safe.