Center Patrice Bergeron was a driving force behind the Boston Bruins' run to the Stanley Cup Final this past season, and the organization is banking on his high level of play to continue for many years to come, as he signed a lucrative, long-term extension on Friday.
UPDATE: Friday, July 12, at 12:51 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
ESPN's Joe McDonald provided a quote from Bergeron about his new deal:
Bergeron: "It feels like home and I don't want to go anywhere else."— Joe McDonald (@ESPNJoeyMac) July 12, 2013
The Bruins added quotes as well from their Twitter:
Bergeron on what the Bruins represent: "mentality is team-first, and to me, that means a lot; exemplifies the values that I have" ^CS— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 12, 2013
37 said he loves the city, people, everything about Boston. "early on, I wanted to stay in Boston. same now, I want to retire as a Bruin"^CS— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 12, 2013
---End of update---
According to the Bruins' official website, Bergeron inked an eight-year, $52 million contract extension that will result in a $6.5 million cap hit per season. Bergeron was set to become a free agent after the 2013-14 season, but Bruins management ensured that it wouldn't become an issue.
Bruins have signed Patrice Bergeron to an eight-year contract extension through the 2021-22 season. Read release: http://t.co/0tLxHqwRJV ^BB— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 12, 2013
Bergeron's current contract carries a $5 million cap hit, so he received a significant raise and was rewarded for his excellent play. The forward, who turns 28 on July 24, already has nine NHL seasons under his belt, and he has been a big-time contributor for the Bruins at both ends of the ice.
He put up 32 points in 42 regular-season games this year and chipped in 15 points in 22 playoff games as well. Bergeron's defensive acumen is equally impressive, though, as he led the NHL in plus-minus during the 2011-12 season and won the Frank J. Selke Trophy that year as the best defensive forward in hockey.
Is this a good signing for the Bruins?
There is no questioning Bergeron's talent level and will to win, but injuries will always be a concern. While he has only missed a total of nine games over the past three seasons, he missed 72 games in 2007-08 due to a concussion, so there is definitely some risk in giving him such a big contract.
Bergeron also played with a punctured lung during the Stanley Cup Final this season, so the toughness is obvious, but his durability is iffy at best.
When Bergeron is healthy, though, he is a heart-and-soul player for the Bruins, so the organization and its fanbase are likely ecstatic about the re-signing.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter