This is, along with the recent Tuukka Rask extension, the smartest offseason move in quite a busy offseason for the Boston Bruins. 2012 Selke Trophy winner and alternate captain Patrice Bergeron has signed an eight-year contract extension valued at $52 million or a $6.5 million cap hit. This will keep him a Bruin through 2021-22–ostensibly the rest of his career, although he’ll be only 35 when this contract’s up, and we’ve certainly seen players go on happily longer than 35, so who knows?
This contract extension is incredibly well-deserved for a player who’s basically the heart and soul of the Bruins. In fact, he’s the image the team remade itself in back in 2005, when they decided to part ways with Joe Thornton. Then-general manager Mike O’Connell made the choice to go with Bergeron, preferring the way he conducts himself on and off the ice. That was in 2005, when his career was really only just starting. He’s only gotten better and more ideal from there.
The past season was a good one for Bergeron: he had 10 goals and 22 assists in 42 games, led the team in plus-minus, had a plus or even rating in 37 games and led the entire NHL in faceoff win percentage. He kept up the good work in the Stanley Cup playoffs, stacking up nine goals and six assists. He continued to be so good at the draw that certain other players on teams that won’t be named (but that might be located in Canada) wondered if he was cheating. Two game-winning goals came off his stick: the one that completed the miraculous comeback win in the quarterfinals, plus the one that created a 3-0 series lead against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He was nominated for the Selke Trophy again, but didn’t win (I believe he was snubbed in just one of the PHWA’s many award-voting foibles), although he did win the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership qualities and great on- and off-ice conduct. That was during the Stanley Cup Final, but before he started to get injured–and play through the injuries, even when they stacked up so far that he needed nerve-blocking injections just to play.
This extension, therefore, is an excellent reward for a job well done and a way to secure a very, very important piece of the Boston puzzle before he even has to think about it next year, when his previous deal was set to expire. Drafted in the second round of the notable 2003 draft, Bergeron has never played for a team other than the Bruins, except when both of the lockouts temporarily forced him elsewhere.
Now he will be able to stay with the team that believed in him when he was just 18, the city he now counts as home.