BUFFALO, N.Y. — Patrik Berglund tells Sweden’s Hockeypuls.se he feels at peace and has no regrets after abruptly ending his hockey career by walking away from the Buffalo Sabres a little over two months into the season.
”I just knew I had to go home to find myself again,” Berglund told the publication in speaking for the first time since the Sabres terminated the final three-and-a-half years left on his contract last month. The Sabres acted after suspending Berglund on Dec. 15 when he failed to report for the game at Washington.
Berglund was interviewed at his home in Vasteras, Sweden. The story was published in Swedish on Friday and translated by Google.
Berglund says he lost some of his passion for hockey last summer after being traded to Buffalo by St. Louis. Berglund was the Blues first-round draft pick in 2006 and spent 10 seasons in St. Louis.
He says he had difficulty handling the move, and eventually became tired of trying to hide his frustrations.
Berglund says his emotions had nothing to do with playing in Buffalo, and he apologized to the Sabres for betraying them.
Berglund provides no indication regarding his future plans. He added he’s not concerned about walking away from the remainder of his five-year, $19.25 million contract.
”My contract, and all the money I gave up means nothing,” Berglund said. ”I can give up that amount at any time to feel good inside.”
Will Scottie Upshall be the one to take advantage of the hole left in the St. Louis Blues’ roster by Patrik Berglund’s major shoulder injury? He’ll get that chance as the Blues have invited him to training camp on a tryout basis, per the team’s website.
Upshall, who will turn 32 on Oct. 7, is a veteran of 553 career NHL games. He has reached the 30-point mark on five separate occasions, but he was limited to eight goals and 15 points in 63 contests with the Florida Panthers last season.
He is coming off of a four-year, $14 million deal. Under other circumstances, he might have been able to secure a new contract by now to serve as a bottom-six forward, but with many teams up against the cap or their internal budgets, this has become a particularly rough summer for many veteran players.
The Blues have taken advantage of that by offering Scott Gomez a PTO as well, but St. Louis also has some young forwards vying for spots with two of the most noteworthy examples being Robby Fabbri and Ty Rattie.
Related: Hitch finds silver lining in Berglund injury
Losing Patrik Berglund (shoulder) for at least four months is a setback, but Blues coach Ken Hitchcock can see how this situation could have been worse.
“You never want to see a guy get hurt,” Hitchcoch said, “but it couldn’t come at a better time because it allows us to have preparation for finding his replacement. It gives us time to look at guys in training camp. We’ve brought in some NHL players to take a look at, bona fide NHL players, so we’ve got lots of time to see how it works.
“If this happens during the season or even during exhibition season, it’s a different story, but we’ve got a lot of time to figure it out and we’re going to get a good player back when we need him the most.”
Scott Gomez will be among those competing for a spot during training camp after inking a professional tryout contract on the same day that the Blues announced Berglund’s injury. This could also be seen as an opening for highly regarded prospect Robby Fabbri, although Hitchcock insists that whether or not he makes the team will be about how Fabbri does rather than the Blues’ situation.
Instead Berglund’s injury might be seen as creating more of an opening for some of the Blues’ more experienced prospects like Ty Rattie, who has spent the last two seasons playing primarily in the AHL.
The timing of Berglund’s injury also means that part of his recovery time will occur while no games of consequence are being played. The flip side to that is that after missing training camp and the early portion of the season, rust might be a factor.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Jeff Gordon doesn’t see losing Patrik Berglund (shoulder surgery) for at least four months as a big blow to the St. Louis Blues. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
What does the Los Angeles Kings’ decision to sign Christian Ehrhoff tell us about the Slava Voynov situation? (Puck Daddy)
Sidney Crosby is enthusiastic about the prospect of playing with Phil Kessel for a lot of different reasons. (DK Pittsburgh Sports)
Shane Doan is happy with the moves the Arizona Coyotes have made over the summer. (Coyotes.nhl.com)
Pavel Datsyuk’s recovery from his ankle surgery seems to be going well. (MLive.com)
Auston Matthews, who might be taken with the top pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, said that the prospect of playing with older competition and for coach Marc Crawford are two of the big reasons he decided to sign with the ZSC Lions. (Arizona Republic)
St. Louis suffered a fairly significant blow on Thursday, as GM Doug Armstrong announced veteran forward Patrik Berglund will undergo shoulder surgery after injuring himself during offseason training.
Berglund, 27, will go under the knife Friday and will be “re-evaluated” in four months. Per the Blues, the injury is an extension of the shoulder separation he suffered during the ’13-14 campaign (Berglund played through the injury that year.)
A former first-round pick (25th overall, 2006), Berglund has been steady-yet-unspectacular for most of his career. He’s durable, having played 513 of 540 games during his seven-year career, but is coming off one of his least impressive seasons, scoring just 12 goals and 27 points while seeing his ice time drop to 14:35 per night.
Looking at the calendar, Berglund’s in real danger of missing half the season. By the time his projected reevaluation will take place in late December, the Blues will have already played close to 50 percent of their regular-season contests.
Berglund is heading into the second of a three-year, $11.1 million pact, with an average annual cap hit of $3.7M.
Related: Marty favor? Blues bringing Gomez to camp on PTO