After two and a half months of waiting, Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron has made his decision on his future and it’s one that the Bruins were hoping for. Monday morning, the Bruins announced that Bergeron has decided to return for a 19th season with the Black and Gold by agreeing to a one-year contract with an average annual value (AAV) of $2.5 million. There is also $2.5 million in performance-based incentives included in the deal for Bergeron.
Bergeron, who is coming off winning his record fifth Selke Trophy for the 2021-22 season, had arm surgery in June and is expected to be ready to go for new coach Jim Montgomery when training camp opens in late September. He finished the 2021-22 season with 25 goals and 40 assists. Bergeron has played in 1,126 career games with 400 goals and 582 assists, leaving him 18 points short for his career.
Bergeron Linemates Still up in the Air
Following the Bruins’ elimination in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Carolina Hurricanes, it appeared that Bergeron’s career was going to be over with the way he sounded, and long-time linemate Brad Marchand sounded. However, he has decided to return, but his line will look a lot different for the first two months of the season.
Marchand is one of three Bruins that will miss the beginning of the season following offseason surgery, along with Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk. Montgomery has options with Taylor Hall and Jake DeBrusk on the left side and moving David Pastrnak back to the first-line right wing after he thrived with Hall and Erik Haula on the second line in the second half of last season.
Bruins Still Have Questions Up the Middle
Even with Bergeron’s return, work is still needed at center for the Bruins. Haula settled in as the second-line center last season, but he was traded to the New Jersey Devils for Pavel Zacha in July. Charlie Coyle is a much better fit as the third-line center than he is up in the top-six. Tomas Nosek is under contract for another season as the fourth-line center, while youngster Trent Frederic is also a center option despite playing most of last season on the wing.
Related: 2022 NHL Free Agent Signing Tracker
Because of a lack of drafting over the years, the Bruins are not blessed with center depth in their prospect pool. Jack Studnicka was a restricted free agent (RFA), but he signed a two-year contract extension on July 23 and will fight for a roster spot in training camp. John Beecher will need a season in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Providence Bruins and is the next in line of prospects close to getting to the NHL and in reality, he’s possibly a year away.
Overall, Bergeron returning is something that the Bruins need if they want to contend in 2022-23, now it’s just a matter of fitting pieces in around him. Following Bergeron’s signing, Boston now has just about $2.25 million remaining in cap space to fill out the roster, which does not include Zacha’s next contract after his arbitration hearing, which is scheduled for Thursday. Sweeney and Zacha could also agree on a deal before Thursday, which would cancel the hearing. There is also the possibility of David Krejci returning after leaving last season to continue his career in his home country of the Czech Republic.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.