Patrice Bergeron deserves more appreciation.
ESPN’s NHL expert Victoria Matiash argued that point Thursday when she took the Worldwide leader to task for ranking the Boston Bruins center too low on its list of the predicted top 50 players for the 2019-20 season. While the No. 24 ranking would represent an honor for most NHL players, Matiash believes Bergeron’s unparalleled prowess as a two-way star should put him in the top 20.
“Like most elite centers, Bruins veteran Bergeron makes everyone around him that much better,” Matiash writes. “The four-time Selke Trophy winner (a record, shared with Bob Gainey) has been nominated for the award eight years running (also a record, all his own), and counting. And the 34-year-old collected 32 goals and 47 assists in only 65 games this past season. He belongs comfortably in the top 20.”
Bergeron is one of three Bruins on ESPN’s top-50 list, joining David Pastrnak (19) and Brad Marchand (15).
Given Bergeron’s role in leading the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final, his award-winning defense, his offensive stats, and No. 14 rank on the Top 50 list the NHL Network’s recently unveiled, we’ll have to agree with Matiash.
However, it’s best to keep in mind these rankings double as predictions. Perhaps ESPN’s panel believes Bergeron’s age, 34, and lingering groin injury will combine to lower his performance level in 2019-20. Or maybe he’ll continue to defy those “expert” predictions.