By: Sam Minton | Follow me @sam_minton22
All of the recent chatter surrounding the Boston Bruins has to do with a particular player’s comments on his contract. Could this be the last season that Patrice Bergeron plays in Boston?
At the 2021 Boston Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament, the captain said that he isn’t focused on the future and will play out the rest of his contract. That’s a statement that is sure to make some B’s fans nervous.
Bergeron has continued to perform even as he has gotten older. Last season the captain put up 23 goals and 25 assists. For a 36-year-old, it is hard to complain about those numbers.
But with Bergeron saying that he will play out his contract, Bruins fans are forced to be patient and hope that the organization does the right thing. Bergeron spending even a game with another organization should be chalked up as a catastrophic failure. He epitomizes what it means to be a Bruin. No one else will wear No.37 after he retires, as it will live in the rafters for eternity once his playing career is over.
Fans of Boston might already have an idea of what Bergeron’s next contract could look like in the near future. They need to go back a few years and see how they handled a recent aging veteran.
The Zdeno Chara Approach
It seems like the best approach for the Bruins is to treat Bergeron like Zdeno Chara. As Chara continued to get older, Boston signed the defenseman to one-year deals of decreasing value. The deal started in 2018 with Chara signing a one-year, $5 million contract. These would continue up until the 2020 offseason that saw the veteran join the Washington Capitals.
Bergeron’s current deal carries an annual cap hit of $6.875 million. With Bergy’s love for the city, it wouldn’t be surprising for him to sign a similar deal as Chara did.
There is one variation that the B’s need to take. It shouldn’t be a game of wait-and-see with Bergeron. Boston needs to be on the front foot and ensure that Bergeron doesn’t play for another team.
The situation with Bergeron is a little different compared to Chara. The defensemen had played with other teams before linking up with the Bruins. That isn’t the case for Bergeron. All he has known in the NHL is the Bruins. In comparison to Chara, it’s much harder to see Bergeron leaving.
The best move for both sides is to agree to these one-year deals moving forward. This gives the Bruins the flexibility to make moves while still ensuring that their captain stays where he belongs.
For Bergeron, it gives him the power to end his career on his terms. He doesn’t have to worry about fulfilling a contract; when he is done, he can choose not to re-sign on the next one-year deal.
So while it’s always nerve-wracking to hear that a legend of the organization is going to play out his contract, Bruins fans shouldn’t fret. We have seen how Boston handles aging veterans, and unlike Chara, they know that they can’t let Bergeron walk and play for another team.