(Photo Credit: Nancy Lane)
By: Ian Smith | Follow me on Twitter @IanMalcolmSmith
Patrice Bergeron has been arguably the best two-way player in hockey for the last handful of seasons. He has won four Selke Trophies in the previous seven years and possesses the playmaking abilities to consistently generate offense for himself and his teammates. The energy and skill it takes to be such a stalwart on the defensive end of the ice while also serving as an important source of offensive production is truly remarkable. Bergeron’s value to this team is immeasurable, and it looks like he might be in the midst of the best offensive season of his career.
It’s amazing that he is averaging well over a point per game to start this season at age 33 and with over 900 games under his belt, especially because it looks like he might be entering new territory. Bergeron has never averaged a point per game throughout a season. The closest he came was last season when he registered 63 points in 64 games. Heading into the 2018-19 season, Bergeron had played 14 years in the NHL, and his career-high point total was 73 back in 2005-06. He did that as a 20-year-old, and he’s on pace right now to surpass that previous best as a 33-year-old with a lot of mileage on his skates. Through 15 games this season, Bergeron has 21 points, which ranks him tied for fifth in the league in points scored.
There are numerous reasons to believe that Bergeron is going to score more points this season that he ever has before in his career. For one thing, he’s durable. He missed a chunk of time last season with a broken bone in his foot, but it was the first season in a while where he had missed significant action. He had appeared in at least 79 games in each of the previous six non-lockout shortened seasons before last year, and he has appeared in all 15 Bruins games so far.
Playing on a line with David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand is going to provide him with ample opportunities to either set those two up for goals or capitalize himself on chances created by them. Pastrnak looks like he’s going to compete for the Rocket Richard Trophy this season, and Marchand is the only player in the league who has scored at least 34 goals in each of the previous three seasons. That line is going to continue scoring at an impressive rate, meaning Bergeron is going to keep racking up points.
Bergeron has 51 shots on net through 15 games this season. That’s an average of 3.40 shots on goal per game. He has averaged 2.96 shots on goal per game for his career. When he had 73 points in 2005-06 he averaged 3.83 shots on goal per game. When he scored 63 points in 64 games last season, he averaged 3.50 shots on goal per game. He is averaging fewer shots on goal per game this season, but he has a shooting percentage of 15.7% this year so far. That’s well above his career total of 10.3% and his 2005-06 total of 10.0%. It’s also higher than his 13.4% put up in 2017-18. Even if Bergeron slips in his shots on goal per game to something like 3.30 and his shooting percentage to something like 13% from this point forward, that would still come out to about 38 goals by the end of this season if Bergeron plays in 80 games. If Bergeron can stay healthy this season, he’s very likely going to set a career high in goals. Pastrnak and Marchand are also going to provide him with plenty of opportunities to rack up assists, so Bergeron is really in a great position.
During his career, Bergeron’s lowest scoring month in terms of points per game in months where he has played at least 100 career games is the month of November at about 0.70 points per game. His second lowest points per game for a month is 0.72 for October. Bergeron tends to pick up his scoring rate after the first two months of the season, so the fact that he has started off this strong bodes well for him to keep it up for the rest of the season. There are definitely a lot of indicators that Bergeron is in the midst of what’s going to end up being one of his most statistically impressive seasons.