Bruins Player Preview: Patrice Bergeron’s Expected Role, Projected Season Stats

Editor’s note: will preview every NHL-level Bruins player over the next few weeks, leading to the Oct. 8 season opener. Click here for the full schedule and to read other player profiles.

Patrice Bergeron had perhaps his best NHL season in 2013-14. He reached the 30-goal mark for the second time in his career, had a mightily important role on special teams and played elite defense in all three zones. He also won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward for the second time in his career and finished fifth in the Hart Trophy voting.

Simply put, Bergeron did a little bit of everything for Boston last season, and we can expect more of the same in 2014-15 as he enters the prime of his career.

Player Vitals
Age: 29
Position: Center
2013-14 Stats: 30 goals, 32 assists, 62 points in 80 games
Contract: Eight years remaining with a $6.5 million salary-cap hit

What He Will Bring The Team
What doesn’t Bergeron give the Bruins? That’s the real question.

The veteran center is a 30-goal scorer with the playmaking skills to make his linemates better. He’s a threat on the power play with his powerful shot from the faceoff circle, his defense is better than any forward in the league and he regularly ranks in the top three of faceoff win percentage (58.6 percent in 2013-14, third-best among all players who took 750-plus draws).

Bergeron also is a driver of puck possession, evidenced by his league-leading 60.97 corsi-for percentage last season. His corsi-relative of 9.46 shows the B’s averaged nearly 10 percent more shots when Bergeron was on the ice compared to when he was off it. The following chart from War on Ice compares how many shots the Bruins gave up with and without Bergeron in 2013-14.

BergeronagainstThe Quebec City native is the most reliable player in the NHL and can be trusted by Bruins head coach Claude Julien to excel in any situation, whether it’s at 5-on-5 or on special teams. These skills make Bergeron one of the top three centers in the league.

Weakness That Must Be Improved
Nothing substantial enough to go in-depth about.

Expected Role For 2014-15
Bergeron will play his usual spot on the second line alongside Brad Marchand. Depending on what happens with Reilly Smith’s contract situation, there might be a different player at right wing.

Bergeron was a more aggressive player in the attacking zone last season, and the results were positive. He took 243 shots (second-highest single-season total of his career) and scored 30 goals. Bergeron is able to expertly balance consistent scoring and stellar defense, and we should expect more of the same from him in 2014-15. His best is yet to come.

Projected 2014-15 Stats: 35 goals, 40 assists in 80 games

Have a Bruins/NHL question for Nick Goss? Send it to him via Twitter at @NickGossNESN