NHL Rumors: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron returning for 2022-23 NHL season

NHL Rumors: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron returning for 2022-23 NHL season

Patrice Bergeron isn’t ready to retire from the NHL just yet.

The Boston Bruins captain has decided to return, likely on a one-year contract, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Joe McDonald.

Bergeron just played the final year of his eight-year, $55 million contract that began in 2014-15.

The 36-year-old center recently wrapped up his 18th season in Boston. He’s played in 1,383 career games, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He’s also dealt with numerous injuries in his career. Therefore, it wouldn’t have been surprising at all if Bergeron decided to call it quits.

Luckily for the Bruins, he’s staying for at least another season.

Bergeron is still one of the league’s top forwards. He has scored 20-plus goals in nine consecutive years as Boston’s No. 1 center. Bergeron remains the best two-way forward in the world. He was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy for the 11th straight season and won the award for a record fifth time earlier this month.

Another reason why the Bruins have to be very relieved that Bergeron hasn’t decided to retire is the team is woefully unprepared to replace him. There isn’t a center on Boston’s roster, the Providence Bruins’ roster or anywhere in the organization’s prospect pool capable of filling a top-six center role if Bergeron had departed. The B’s have drafted and poorly developed at the center position over the last seven years.

Bergeron’s return gives the Bruins another year to find a potential replacement.

Now that Bergeron’s decision is out of the way, the Bruins can focus on upgrading their roster for another playoff run next season. This offseason to-do list should include upgrading at center, bolstering the team’s scoring extension depth and a long-term with David Pastrnak. They’re also still searching for a new head coach to replace Bruce Cassidy.