(Photo: Matthew J. Lee / Boston Globe)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

In what is hardly a surprise, the Boston Bruins announced Thursday that Patrice Bergeron has been named as the 20th captain in franchise history. Bergeron is entering his 17th season in the National Hockey League and with the team.

“To be Captain of an Original Six franchise is an honor, and a role that comes with much responsibility to his teammates and the fans,” Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs said in a statement. “There is no doubt in my mind that Patrice is the natural successor to the Captain role, and he will represent this franchise very well.”

Last season, Bergeron posted 31 goals and 25 assists for 58 points in 61 games. In the playoffs, he added 2-6-8 totals in 13 contests.

Bergeron was drafted 45th overall by Boston in the second round of the historic 2003 NHL Entry Draft before earning a spot on the team right away, scoring 16-23-39 in 71 games as a rookie. To this point, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound center ranks third in franchise history in games played (1,089) and game-winning goals (67), fifth in goals (352) and assists (517), and sixth in points (869).

“It’s a privilege to name Patrice the 20th Captain of the Boston Bruins,” team president Cam Neely said. “For 16 seasons we have all watched Patrice grow not only into an elite player but also a tremendous leader.”

The L’Ancienne Lorette, Quebec, native has won the Frank J. Selke Trophy four times (2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017) as the league’s best defensive forward, tied for the most all-time. Bergeron has been nominated for the award for nine straight seasons.

“It is with great privilege that we present Patrice Bergeron as the 20th Captain of the Boston Bruins,” general manager Don Sweeney said. “Patrice Bergeron exudes leadership, character, talent, will and empathy.”

In 2013, Bergeron earned the King Clancy Trophy, given to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities both on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community, before being nominated for it again this past year. He also won the NHL Foundation Player Award in 2014, annually awarded to the player who applies the core values of hockey to enrich the lives of those in his community. 

Bergeron’s legacy as a Bruin continues in the playoffs, where he ranks third in team history in playoff games played (149), playoff points (111), playoff assists (69) and fourth in playoff goals (42). He and former captain Zdeno Chara helped lead the team to a Stanley Cup in 2011, where he scored 6-14-20 totals in 23 games, including the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Bergeron joins the list of Bruins captains that includes: Chara (2006-20), Joe Thornton (2002-05), Jason Allison (2000-01), Ray Bourque (1985-2000), Rick Middleton (1985-88), Terry O’Reilly (1983-85), Wayne Cashman (1977-83), John Bucyk (1966-67 and 1973-77), Leo Boivin (1963-66), Don McKenney (1961-63), Ferny Flaman (1955-61), Ed Sanford (1954-55), Milt Schmidt (1950-54), John Crawford (1946-50), Ralph ‘Cooney’ Weiland (1938-39), Aubrey ‘Dit’ Clapper (1932-38 and 1939-47), George Owen (1931-32), Lionel Hitchman (1927-31) and Sprague Cleghorn (1925-27). 

Of the now 20 captains over the course of the franchise’s history, seven have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and seven have their numbers retired by the Bruins. Those numbers could soon become eight once Chara concludes his career.

Boston is in the midst of its training camp as the team prepares for the 2020-21 season. The Bruins open up their season in one week on Thursday, Jan. 14, on the road against the New Jersey Devils