Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron is wrapping up one of his finest NHL regular seasons, and club president Cam Neely believes the talented two-way center could be getting even better.
That’s quite a statement for a player like Bergeron. He’s been around for a decade, which makes it easy to forget that he’s only 28 years old. Conceivably, he’s in the middle of his prime and in position to improve even more. Neely said as much himself.
“You’re gonna point probably to his goal production this year, but I think Patrice has done just as good a job defending — he’s for the most part always up against the other team’s top line,” Neely said during a weekly radio appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “He doesn’t make too many mistakes in his zone, he’s a great three-zone player, he plays 200 feet, he’s great at faceoffs, great at penalty killing. I think you can take a look at (Jonathan) Toews in that category as well, but Bergy just does everything right. He’s a guy that you look at and say that’s a complete hockey player right there.”
Bergeron’s defensive prowess is well-known at this point, but what’s really been eye-opening is the forward’s offensive production. Bergeron just had a seven-game goal-scoring streak snapped and now has 27 goals, the second-most of his career. Bergeron still has a nine-game point streak with 8-4-12 totals in those games.
“His skating has probably picked up maybe half a step, he’s clicked really well with (Brad) Marchand and then Reilly Smith, who’s fit in really nice on that line,” Neely continued. “It’s just his hockey sense and the dedication to playing all three zones, and he’s always in the right place at the right time making the right play. And he’s gotten better. A guy like that has got so much dedication on and off the ice, and he does a lot of things that people don’t realize in the community that go a long way. He’s a guy … we’re fortunate to have him in our lineup every night.”