Replacing Someone Like Patrice Bergeron Could Be ‘Years In Making’

'You don't replace that type of player and what he means to our organization'

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It’s unclear if Patrice Bergeron will return for a 19th NHL season with the Boston Bruins or retire, but it’s clear the team will give him as much time as he needs to make the appropriate decision.

Bergeron has been a leader long before he became the captain. He’s not someone that can be replaced overnight given the impact he’s made on the organization and its players.

General manager Don Sweeney knows as much.

“We are going to give Patrice as much time as he necessarily needs. You could look at plans B and C and such, but let’s be honest, you don’t replace that type of player and what he means to our organization,” Sweeney said during his end-of-the-year media availability Wednesday. “That might take years to replace that player in that sense. We do have to give him all the latitude in the world to make the best decision for he and his family. We’ll do that. He’s given us indications that he’s not going to hold us up in that sense in terms of what we may have to do subsequent to making a decision. But to be perfectly honest, I don’t think there’s a timetable on it.”

Should Bergeron decide to hang up his skates, he’d leave behind quite the void, particularly at first line center.

It’s fair to say the B’s don’t have a Plan B in terms of who they’d use to replace Bergeron. After all, his leadership and on-ice skills are some of the best in the NHL — just look at his 11 consecutive Selke Trophy nominations.

At the end of the day, though, Sweeney doesn’t know if there’s another Bergeron-type player out there.

“Again, it might be years in the making in terms of you draft a player like that, develop a player like that, and you count your blessings every day. That’s ultimately what it comes down to, to be perfectly honest,” Sweeney said. “That’s how it generally happens for most organizations. When you have an iconic player, a player that’s going to go into the Hall of Fame, that’s generally how it transpires. It will be no different for the Boston Bruins to find the next type. I don’t know whether or not there will be another one.”

All we can do is wait for Bergeron to make his decision, whenever that may be.

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