For the past decade Patrice Bergeron has been one of the best two-way forwards in all of hockey. His accolades include an impressive four Selke trophies and a Stanley Cup. Despite his consistent production, Bergeron is overlooked when talking about NHL superstars. At this point it’s hard not to wonder if Patrice Bergeron is the most underrated star in the NHL.
Ever since entering the league as a promising prospect back in 2003-2004, Bergeron has been an excellent offensive player. He racked up an impressive sixteen goals and twenty-three assists in his rookie season for thirty-nine points and a +5 rating. Bergeron has not slowed down since, putting up 275 goals, and 428 assist for 703 points in 934 games played. However many people do not see Bergeron as an offensive threat. He consistently posts at least fifty points a season. The reason for that is because Bergeron is not flashy he plays a rather simple offensive game. Most of Bergeron’s goals come from the dots or cleaning up rebounds. While Bergeron is not going to make highlight reels, his offensive consistency and reliability cannot be understated.
Bergeron also makes the players around him better, which is the true sign of a great player. Bergeron and Marchand have rapidly developed into one of the best pairs in the NHL.
What can you say about Bergeron’s defense that has not been said? The four-time Selke winner is widely viewed across the NHL as the best defensive forward. Bergeron has not had a minus season since 2006-2007. He finished two of those seasons with a +36 and +38 rating. The veteran center also provides unreal consistency during faceoffs, which makes him valuable in key defensive situations. In eleven straight seasons Bergeron has finished above 50% at the dot, and finished three seasons with over 60%. His willingness to do the little things in all three zones is what makes him one of the most respected players in hockey.
While Bergeron has played a lot of high pressure minutes in his career he still has maintained his defensive excellency. Currently Bergeron is on pace to finish his third consecutive season with over 19:30 TOI.
Patrice Bergeron may be the toughest player in hockey. Anyone remember back in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final when Bergeron played through injuries that would have most people bedridden? Bergeron suited up for Game Six against the Blackhawks with a broken rib, torn cartilage, torn muscles, a separated shoulder, and punctured lung. His willingness to lay it all on the line is what makes him a great player, leader, and competitor. The latest example of his competitiveness was when he took a slap shot to his knee against the Penguins. It was reported that Bergeron lost a healthy-sized piece of skin and needed stitches during the second period. But not wanting to miss a shift the center just played through the pain.
While national media continues to disregard the excellence of Patrice Bergeron, Boston fans appreciate what number 37 brings to the rink everyday. As the most underrated player in hockey, Bergeron just continues to do what makes him great win.