Welcome back Patrik Berglund, you goofy unusual large Swedish gifted man with the goatee. Nice to have you back but please, get the fuck down to business. There's no time to waste. Jordan Caron has been sent back to the Wolves, which means a Berglund return is imminent. This team may not find its perfect fit for a boost in the veteran forward, but he can provide the team with depth.
I'll admit that I have never been the biggest Patrik Berglund fan. Fair or not, I've dished the Swede some criticism in the past. Maybe that's the back of the packaging that Bergie came on said "Potential to be great" or that no batteries were needed. Either way, judging from comments made by wise men and women I know who know a few things, I may have been too hard on him. He did have to sing a Journey song after all. What can he offer a struggling Blues team as 2016 unfolds...
As I wrote in the last Gametime paper, expecting the world out of Bergie when he returns from a shoulder injury he sustained in the offseason that required surgery would be as worthwhile as expecting good coffee at a gas station in the middle of the night. He won't return and score 10 goals in a two week span. Those days are behind him. In his last two seasons spanning 155 games, Berglund has scored 26 goals. Not happening.
The one thing Berglund can do is upset the established order that Ken Hitchcock has created. He can be the wick that Hitch uses to blow up these lines. Berglund can bump the underwhelming Magnus Paajarvi down to a third or fourth line role if not a press box pass. David Backes once told the media Berglund offered things that didn't show up on the stat sheet. I'll buy some real estate in that ideal. A big body on the ice with smooth hands. Someone who can play top line or third line minutes and be useful. A guy who knows(whether for better or worse) Hitchcock's system.
I'd pair Berglund with David Backes and Robby Fabbri. Size, quickness, some hand speed, and other things. If that shifts Backes to the wing, so be it. Roll with it. See what works. Get Alex Steen, Paul Stastny and Vladimir Tarasenko back together. They should have never been broken up. The return of Berglund should fortify the uneven line assembly until Jaden Schwartz returns and adds something truly valuable to the top two lines. For now, Bergie provides some balance.
As my colleague Robb Tuffs pointed out in his roundtable piece earlier this week, if anything, the man is underrated and deserves a chance to make a dent. After all, Berglund is paid rather handsomely for his services.
What do you expect from Berglund upon his return? Take your pick in the poll below.