Patrice Bergeron was announced as the winner of the 2021-22 Selke Trophy on Sunday, the fifth time he’s won the award. He was a deserved honor after a monster season, but now come the question about what’s next for the Boston Bruins forward, whose contract expires this season.
“My whole career I’ve had contract extensions or I’ve had long-term contracts,” said Bergeron, who turns 37 in July. “I would head into the summers I guess with that in the back of my mind, meaning that I know what I’m doing next year and all that stuff. And now I’m 36 and I don’t have a contract and I can actually take a step back for the first time in my career, the first time in my life that I can just reflect on what I do want looking forward for the future.”
Bergeron said his recent surgery to fix a tendon in his left elbow, which will require 10-12 weeks of recovery time, will not affect a decision on his hockey-playing future. It’s an injury that he said he’s played through over the last two seasons.
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When you consider at 5-on-5 Bergeron’s 65.5 shot attempt share was first in the NHL and that the Bruins allowed just 1.56 expected goals per 60 minutes with him on the ice, you’d root for him to decide to continue playing next season.
But the way his teammates reacted to him following their First Round series defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes gave the feeling that it was good-bye. The post-series hugs seemed a little more emotional than usual, indicating an unknown future for the franchise captain.
“I still think I have a lot of time in front of me, I guess, to make that decision,” Bergeron said. “I want to make sure that I take all the time that I need to make the right one.”
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.