Patrik Berglund has been much maligned by St. Louis Blues fans the past couple of seasons. This might be due in part to the contract extension that many Blues fans found to be above and beyond what they felt he was deserving. I'm not here to debate the merits of that contract. What I am here to debate is whether or not Berglund is as horrible of a hockey player as many of our loyal fan base make him out to be.
This season Hitchcock has been giving Berglund "shut down" minutes. He has been given defensive zone starts up against tougher competition. This differs from the previous two seasons where he was given more offensive zone starts against roughly the same level of competition. I wouldn't hold it against a player if they had mediocre possession numbers with the type of usage Berglund has been seeing this season. But in Berglund's situation, his corsi for % is above 50%.
So not only is Berglund seeing "shut down" minutes, but he has above 50% corsi for so far this season. In fact this season's corsi is his best to date with the Blues.
Luck of the Swedish
Since the Blues don't play in the Corsi Hockey League, they need goals in order to win games. So while Berglund might be sporting decent possession numbers, are the Blues scoring while he is on ice? Berlund's PDO (a measure of luck that adds the teams shooting % and save % when that player is on ice) is below the 100 threshold. At 98 it is the second lowest season PDO for Berlund. Could he just be a victim of bad luck then? Perhaps he and his linemates (when Hitchcock has consistent lines) just aren't getting good bounces when they are out on the ice?
But can he score goals?
This season has not been a goal scoring season for Berglund so far. However, that doesn't mean he hasn't been trying. In fact, his personal shots for per 60 is the highest out of any other season and his personal shooting percentage this season is one of the lowest. So while he might not be scoring goals, he is trying, and if he keeps this shots for pace up, he will succeed. And it could be he will start scoring right when the Blues need it the most, in the playoffs. In the meantime, Berglund has been helping plenty of his teammates score. His assists per 60 this season is above his career average to date.
Stop the hate
Berglund might not be the goal scoring Swede you want him to be. But that is okay. He is bringing plenty of other skills and talents to the ice that, in my humble opinion, is keeping the Blues on track this season. So can we let up on him for a little while?