Patrice Bergeron is one of the most respected players in the NHL, as well as the heart and soul of the Bruins. The fact that he even played at the end of the 2013 playoffs with a punctured lung, separated shoulder and cracked rib was just remarkable.
He's one of the elite two-way players in the NHL, evidenced by his two consecutive nominations for the Selke Trophy (he won the award in 2011-12).
As the best faceoff man in the NHL, Bergeron's ability to win draws and help the Bruins maintain possession of the puck is critical to the team's offensive success. Even though he's not a prolific scorer, the 28-year-old is capable of tallying anywhere from 45-65 points per season.
From a defensive standpoint, Bergeron is a smart, responsible player who blocks shots, breaks up passes and steals the puck. He also has the ability to completely shutdown elite scorers, which was evident in the 2013 Eastern Conference Final, when his exceptional defense resulted in Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby scoring zero points in a playoff series for the first time.
As a player who excels in all types of situations (even-strength, special teams, etc.), Bergeron is by far the most important forward on the Bruins. As we saw in Game 5 and Game 6 of last year's Cup Final, when Bergeron is at less than 100 percent healthy, Boston is a much easier team to beat.