Patrice Bergeron Is Making A Case For Best Player In NHL

Any Bruins fan knows that the man wearing #37 is really the #1 reason that Boston is either succeeding or failing in any given season.

So with the B’s looking like a legit Stanley Cup contender through the past two months, it’s no surprise that Patrice Bergeron is leading the way.

But what he is doing on the ice in his 14th season is truly remarkable, and makes me wonder if he is actually a human or just some hockey robot that thankfully has graced the ice in Boston since 2003.

We all know that Bergeron is one of the best defensive forwards in the game, as he has taken home the Selke Trophy a record-tying four times – might as well just give it to him at the All-Star break this season.  He does things defensively on a regular basis that are routinely unnoticed by casual fans, while us diehards just expect it because he’s spoiled us with his 200-foot dominance.

His line, which is on the ice against the top forwards in the game night in and night out, have allowed a whopping THREE goals in 5-on-5 play this season, and just seven total given up with the trio of Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak skating together.  Their line is a +32 this year, and is putting up absolutely absurd stats on both ends of the rink.

Corsi is an advanced stat (yes hockey has advanced stats too it’s not just in baseball!) that tracks shots for and shots against while a player or line is on the ice.  In 5-on-5 action, Bergeron is third among starting forwards in the league with a 58.06% Corsi rating (his teammate Matt Grzelcyk is first among defensemen with a 58.56% Corsi).  The Bruins’ first line have a Corsi of 60.00% when all three of them are skating together, with 141 more shots taken than allowed and 74 more scoring chances with Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak on the ice as a unit.

For comparison, the top line of the Vegas Golden Knights (aka the other glaring surprise in the NHL) – William Karlsson, former Bruin Reilly Smith, and Jonathan Marchessault – has a Corsi of 57.08% on 5-on-5 and has allowed 16 goals in 43 games together.  A Corsi of 55% is normally considered elite, so the Golden Knights’ first line is stellar as well – hence their spot atop the Western Conference standings.

Bergeron is widely known for his defense, but he has racked up some outstanding offensive numbers, especially during the B’s 12-0-4 point streak.  If you check out the league’s stats since December 14th – the last time the Bruins lost in regulation – you’ll see the regular names like John Tavares, Claude Giroux, Evgeni Malkin, and Jack Eichel, but the man who has scored the most goals in that timeframe is Patrice Bergeron.

Bergy has 12 goals and seven assists in his last 16 games, and has scored on nearly 20% of his shots on net.  He has a +12 rating with two power-play goals, five PP points, one shorthanded goal, and three game-winners.  Oh yeah, and he’s had a hat trick and a four-goal game that were just 12 days apart.

He’s on pace for career-highs in goals and points scored, as he could get very close to a 40-40 season if he keeps playing at this remarkable pace.  A 30 or 35-goal season should place him firmly in the conversation for not only the Selke but another trophy:

And all of this is coming from a player who was deemed unworthy of an All-Star berth. Honestly, there aren’t even five hockey players on the planet right now who are playing at a higher level than Patrice Bergeron, never mind 30+ players in the National Hockey League that were named All-Stars. You could make a (totally incorrect) argument to exclude Bergeron from the list of All-Stars in previous years, because like I said earlier, defensive prowess is just not normally seen as exciting hockey and that’s what the ASG is all about.

But the ASG is about showcasing the best players in the game, and there’s no question that Bergeron is on the very short list of elite stars in the NHL. If he keeps this going, more people will need to take notice that he may not be just the best defensive center in the game, but the best center period:

Patrice Bergeron doesn’t need the All-Star Game. He’ll probably spend some time with his family, and likely will be at the practice rink honing his face-off skills or trying to find whatever miniscule weakness is currently present in his game.

A few days off might be just what Bergeron needs to excel in the second half of the season and beyond. If that’s the case, the rest of the NHL should be petrified. Maybe they should all get together this weekend and figure out how to stop him… actually what am I saying?  Enjoy the nightlife at the All-Star Game everyone (except Marchy of course)!

Written by: Adam Belue (@albinomamba44)

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