Stanley Cup winner and Boston Bruins team captain Patrice Bergeron announced his retirement on Tuesday, ending a 19-year NHL career that will see the six-time Selke Trophy winner inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
A statement from Patrice Bergeron.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 25, 2023
“For the last 20 years, I have been able to live my dream every day. I have had the honor of playing in front of the best fans in the world wearing the Bruins uniform and representing my country at the highest levels of international play. I have given the game everything that I have physically and emotionally, and the game has given me back more than I could have ever imagined.
It is with a full heart and a lot of gratitude that today I am announcing my retirement as a professional hockey player.”
After winning the President’s Trophy last season with an incredible 65-12-5 record (135 points), the Bruins lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Florida Panthers, and now face an uncertain future without their leader and captain.
Bergeron was still a top-level two-way center that will be impossible to replace. His absence is compounded by the likely retirement of center David Krejci, who came out of retirement after the departure of head coach Bruce Cassidy last season.
Weakened Bruins Center Situation
If GM Don Sweeney is unable to convince Krejci to return or make a deal for a center to replace him or Bergeron, the Bruins face the prospect of opening next season with two players in Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle who have spent a significant portion of their careers on the wing. That fact conceivably moves Boston from a Stanley Cup contender and a lock for a top-three spot in the Atlantic Division to a bubble team with the likes of the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, and the Buffalo Sabres.
Respected for the consistency and competitiveness he brought to the game, Patrice Bergeron has long been viewed as the perfect hockey player by his peers. pic.twitter.com/ERo8yUAmuI
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) July 25, 2023
The Sabres are strong up the middle with Tage Thompson, Dylan Cozens, and Casey Mittelstadt, and have a pair of franchise cornerstones in Owen Power and Rasmus Dahlin. If the additions of Erik Johnson and former Bruin Connor Clifton help improve the Sabres defense and if the young tandem of Devon Levi and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen can hold together, Buffalo has a much better chance to make the playoffs with the Bruins sans Bergeron.