Every year at the NHL Awards Ceremony, the Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded to the “player judged most valuable to his team” in the National Hockey League. And every year Patrice Bergeron proves invaluable to the Boston Bruins. Bergeron has never been in serious contention for the Hart trophy because of his lower offensive numbers as he’s more of a passer than a shooter… until this year.
So far this season, Bergeron has 24 goals and 22 assists for 46 points in 47 games, putting him on track to score a career-high 35 goals this season. The closest he has ever come to this was in the 2015-2016 season when he scored 32.
While he has been consistent in his offensive numbers with 20 or more goals nine times in his career and 30 or more three times, he never had huge numbers like last year’s winner Connor McDavid who had 100 points in his first season as the Edmonton Oiler’s captain. Other notable winners include Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals who often outshine Bergeron when it comes to talk of who will be this year’s MVP or who is doing well this season.
But, the NHL and hockey fans all over are finally seeing what Bruins fans have been seeing for years from the 32-year-old from Quebec who is playing arguably the best hockey of his career right now and has pushed himself full-force into Hart contention.
After being drafted by Boston in 2003, Bergeron quickly moved up the ranks, being named an alternate captain for the 2006-2007 season, and is expected to take over the Bruins captaincy after Zdeno Chara decides to hang up his skates.
Let’s throw out some quick statistics that show just have valuable Bergeron is to the Bruins and to prove how much of a threat he is while centering Boston’s top line with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak:
1. Over his last 15 games, he has scored 12 goals and added eight assists
2. 20% of his career goals have been game-winning goals which are more game-winners than Ovechkin, Crosby, and Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos have
3. He leads the team in goals, is third in points, is fifth in assists, is 1st in power play points, is second in plus-minus with +24
4. He averages 19:30 TOI
5. His face-off win percentage is at 56.18% which leads the team
Bruins fans aren’t the only ones who believe Bergeron is deserving of the award. Before the Bruins 3-2 defeat of the Detroit Red Wings on February 6, their coach Jeff Blashill has said, in his opinion, Bergeron “has probably been the best player in the league for the season up to now. There are others like (Tampa Bay’s Nikita) Kucherov that you could make arguments for, but I think he has had as big an impact on winning as anyone in the league.”
Need further proof? Bergeron was the NHL’s second star of the month for January when he had nine goals, eight assists, and a plus-nine rating. He’s also making a case for his fifth Selke Award as the forward who displays the best defensive game in the league.
Its simple- Bergeron is wildly successful on the power play and can be played in all situations, he’s on a scoring tear this season and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, and he’s playing the best hockey in his 14-year NHL career. He’s reliable, responsible, and poised on and off the ice.? Ladies and gentlemen, Patrice Bergeron has arrived and is in the running for the Hart Trophy so take notice and enjoy it as much as Bruins fans have for years.