Here’s the eighth and final feature on the eight potential unrestricted free agents for the Boston Bruins and whether or not they will return to play with the Bruins in the 2023-24 regular season or beyond.
After 1,294 regular season games, 170 Stanley Cup Playoff games, five Selke Trophies (NHL record), a Stanley Cup and 19 seasons in the NHL – all with the Boston Bruins – is this it for longtime Bruins center and current captain Patrice Bergeron?
For a second straight summer, Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron is an unrestricted free agent and wavering between playing another season in the NHL for the Bruins or retiring. Bergeron had another typical Bergeron season as he scored 27 goals and had 31 assists in 78 regular season games, earning his 12th straight Selke Trophy nomination. As it didn’t for his teammates though, the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs did not go as expected. Bergeron injured his back in the final game of the regular season, and missed the first four games of his team’s seven-game, first round series loss to the Florida Panthers. He played in the final three games of the series but scored just a goal and was an uncharacteristic minus 6 as he battled through a herniated disc.
As he did following the Bruins’ seven-game, first round series loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Bergeron hugged every single Boston Bruins teammate as they came off the ice following the Game 7 loss to the Panthers on April 30. Following the game and then in his final media availability of the season on May 2, Bergeron was once again non-committal about his playing future except to say that he will either play for the Bruins for one more season or retire.
“Not yet, I mean it’s early right now to even make a sound decision, so I really want to make sure, obviously you make, I make the right call, and we make the right call as a family, so I don’t know I guess, how long it’s going to take,” Bergeron replied when asked about a potential timeline for a decision on his future.
Bergeron did point out that last year he notified Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney in June and indicated that would likely be the case this year. However, a recent report by TSN NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun said that there is currently no timeline, and the decision may not come until July.
“Last year he didn’t sign with the Bruins until August, although he told the team in July that [he] intended to come back,” LeBrun said this past Tuesday. “So, that might give you a bit of a timeline. But as someone close to it said to me today, there is no timeline. Everyone is waiting patiently for Patrice Bergeron to decide his future.”
The read here is that Bergeron is more likely to return than David Krejci, and that given his pride and desire, he will do everything he can to give it one more shot and play for the Stanley Cup in the centennial year for the Boston Bruins. If this is it though for the 37-year-old center that the Bruins drafted in the second round (45th overall), it’s been a hell of a ride and a hall of fame career for the L’Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec native.