As first reported by RDS, and later confirmed by the team early this morning, the Boston Bruins have signed forward Patrice Bergeron to a three-year deal worth $15 million.
In this the final year of Bergeron’s current contract, which has a cap hit of $4.75 million, the 25-year-old was content that he would be staying in Boston for the foreseeable future, even if the two sides couldn’t agree on a deal before the end of this season.
“I knew it was going to get done,” Bergeron said in a press conference at Prague today, where the Bruins are getting ready for their first two regular season games against the Phoenix Coyotes this weekend. “At the end of the day I was the one who was going to say yes no matter what. I just wanted to stay in Boston and I think Peter [Chiarelli] and the Bruins knew it all along.”
“He’s got a lot of elements to his personality, and to his game, that are terrific,” added Chiarelli during the press conference. “When you look at his work ethic during practice, look at him during the drills, day to day showing up getting them right and leading the charge, he’s a consummate professional and a terrific player and a terrific young man.”
Bergeron also thanked past Bruins like Glen Murray and Martin Lapointe and current Bruin Mark Recchi for helping him through the years to become the player that he is today, and the person that he is today. But now with youngsters like Tyler Seguin, who is taking a similar route to the one Bergeron took when he was a rookie in 2003-04, the flow of youth on the roster can learn from the assistant captain.
“From my first year when I was 18 I was learning so much from the older guys and there was so much fun and I learned a lot,” Bergeron said during the first day of Bruins Training Camp. “It’s something he [Seguin] is going to have to do, but he’s such a good player and he’s impressive to see.”
That type of advice for Seguin can go a long way from a player who is now the longest tenured member of the current Black and Gold roster.
Drafted in the second round of the 2003 Draft (45th overall) Bergeron has piled up 280 points (99 G, 181 A) in 376 games. In 2005-06, he posted a career highs in goals (31), assists (42), points (73) and games played (81). After posting 70 points (22, 48) in 77 games the year after, Bergeron suffered a season ending concussion the year after from a hit from then Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Randy Jones, which ended his 2007-08 season just 10 games into that campaign.
While he might not have had the same statistical impact when he came back the next year, Bergeron has been a key component to the Bruins success the last two years. And now, just a few years removed from the concussion, Bergeron seems to be getting back his playmaking ability, which was seen during these past playoffs where he had four goals and seven assists in thirteen games.
This wasn’t a contract that was long-term. This wasn’t a deal that was front-loaded either. But it was a necessary deal to keep one of the leaders in the locker room for the next few years.
Now all that’s left is giving their captain, Zdeno Chara, a contract extension. He has expressed interest in a long-term deal, and while a lot remains to be seen, the 33-year-old defenseman has expressed his interest to end his career in the “Hub of Hockey” and is confident that a deal will get done.
But regardless of what happens with Chara, Bruins fans have a reason to be optimistic about their team not only for this year, but in future years as well.