Patrice Bergeron is unquestionably the best player on the Bruins team right now. While Zdeno Chara wears the "C" on his chest, Bergeron is the defacto captain of the team. Bergeron leads the team with 56 points (25 goals and 31 assists) and plays all aspects of the ice. He centers the top line and is responsible for Brad Marchand having a career year in goal scoring. Bergeron is a three-time Selke Trophy winner for being the best defensive forward in the NHL, has won a Stanley Cup, an Olympic Gold, and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his on and off ice professional qualities.
While he was once underrated in the NHL, he is now routinely recognized as one of the most complete players in the game. Bergeron is signed long term with the Bruins, through the 2022 season for $6.875 a year. But with some of the moves the Bruins have made lately, it has to be questioned whether or not the Bruins are wasting his prime. It is completely reasonable for Bergeron to remain productive throughout the lifetime of his contract, he will certainly have a decline at some point. Now, while he is at his peak, Bergeron should be surrounded by a team that can compete every year for a Stanley Cup.
But those aspirations should be quelled with the moves the Bruins have made recently. Over the last several years they have traded away young building blocks, Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton, and fixtures of the Cup winning team, Johnny Boychuk and Milan Lucic, while also putting themselves in cap jail with the signings of Chris Kelly, Greg Campbell, and Reilly Smith. These moves have also barred them from signing Jarome Iginla and Boychuk when they need them to remain a top team in the East. And those trades have not brought back what was given up for them yet.
These egregious mistakes have taken the Bruins from one of the best, most feared teams in the Eastern Conference to a middling team struggling to make the playoffs. If the Bruins want to get the best out of Bergeron, they should surround him with players who can raise this team back to where it was a mere four years ago. Finding a consistent right winger for Bergeron would go a long way to accomplishing this, because Eriksson, Connolly, and others have done little to prove they deserve the right to play on his line.
If the Bruins do not move quickly to get some help around the team's cornerstone player, they will soon find themselves looking at the decline of their star with little to show for it, and nobody wants to see that.