The St. Louis Blues made things interesting for Friday’s draft day yesterday afternoon when they signed Swedish forward Patrik Berglund to a new 3-year deal.
This could mean one of two things for the club, they are about to make a huge draft day trade, or they are exploring options to trade Bergy later if he continues to under perform.
Why Signing Patrik Berglund is Good for the Blues
The signing of Patrik Berglund is a great move for the Blues for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost is that the team retains one of it’s on and off ice leaders, but more importantly the team keeps a solid big bodied finesse forward who has had flashes of greatness in seasons past. Other reasons this is a great move for the team is because Berglund has developed some excellent chemistry with budding Notes stars such as Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz, who will continue to gain invaluable developmental tidbits from the crafty Swede.
Also, let’s not forget that Bergy could very well see a decreased role next season, which may add to his grit and determination to get to those high traffic areas and make plays. Fellow THW Blues writer and co-host (with myself) of the St. Louis Blues Face-Off Show on KSDK.com Jeff Ponder puts it this way,
If Berglund’s signing was based off the intent of having him on the roster next year, he would be best suited as a top-nine forward. The Blues have been vocal about wanting to acquire a first-line center, shaping their top-six unit to be the unnamed player, David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz. Berglund would find his home on a third line, which would likely be a mix of checkers and low-level scorers — Vladimir Sobotka and Magnus Paajarvi come to mind.As far as the contract terms, Berglund is mixed with some notable NHL players. This list includes Troy Brouwer (Washington; three years, $11 million), Antoine Vermette (Arizona, five years, $18.75 million) and David Desharnais (Montreal; four years, $14 million) — about right where he belongs in terms of production and rank among his teammates.
Recent contracts to David Perron and T.J Oshie were used as comps in Patrik Berglund deal…fewer UFA yrs taken away meant less money — Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) June 27, 2014
Signing Patrik Berglund to a 3-year 11.1 million dollar deal may just mean that the team is going to wait until after this year’s NHL draft to make any big organization changing moves.
As previously speculated, the Blues are looking to find a true number-1 center which could be a Jason Spezza, Ryan Kesler, or even a Paul Stastny. Though it seems as if all of these forwards may find a new home before next season, if they were to resign with their current teams it would truly open the door for some serious talks including a Bergy trade.
He very well could be used in a swap that sends St. Louis native Paul Stastny back to his roots in as early as late-July. If Patrik Berglund does begin the season with the team he could also be used at the deadline to acquire an asset that would push the Blues over the playoff edge (in a good way).
All Swedish, No Finish
Though the Berglund signing will turn out to be great either way (whether he’s used in a trade, or starts playing how fans all hoped he would this past season), it may be at the expense of his current role on the team. Right now he is seen as a 2nd to 3rd line center for the team, but after last season’s abysmal 32 point run (14 G, 18A in 78 games) Bergy may find himself in a decreased role as a 3rd line winger. This would aid the development of Tarasenko and Schwartz while helping solidify our bottom-6 forwards.
If Patrik Berglund can play the role the Blues need him to next season a trade may not be necessary. He would definitely be a great compliment to Magnus Pajaarvi and Vladimir Sobotka, which may help his scoring woes and deliver him back to his prime-time days where he averaged between 38-55 points a year.
If this is the case he could finally fall into place and guide the team to its first Stanley Cup through his consistent defensive play (he was still a plus-10 in 2013-14), and revamped scoring prowess. Though a trade is seemingly imminent, Bergy could still don the Blues crest for the next 3 years at least.
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Mike has covered the St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning in depth for The Hockey Writers since 2013. He is also a contributing writer for KSDK News Channel 5, the St. Louis area NBC affiliate, and has been a credentialed media member of the Blues since 2014. Follow him on Twitter @pep30.