On June 26, 2014, Patrik Berglund was given a three year extension that had to mean two things: a sign and trade was happening or it was a very spicy joke. The joke was on us, apparently.
Patrik Berglund does nothing remarkably well, but on Friday, General Manager (is that what he really does?) Doug Armstrong gave the Swede a five year extension worth $19.25 million. My first thought was simple; why now and for so long?
If Berglund scores three more goals this season, it will be his first 20 goal season since the 2010-11 season. He averages right around 38 points a season, and is a very streaky player. When did he deserve a raise?
The 17 goals are nice, but they have come in bunches, and who knows when the next ghost phase will happen with Berglund. In the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, his totals were 27 and 32 points, respectively, per season. What if he returns to that mode in 2017-18 and beyond? He’s not even on pace for a 40 point season.
His two way play is nice, but has Berglund ever won a Selke award or been a top ten finalist? His defense is good, but not great. For all the praise his defensive play gets, I’ve seen the guy play as soft as baby shit in the corners. How many times have fans complained that he doesn’t use his size enough?
Again, he does nothing extremely well.
Look at his puck possession skill, though! The man does have soft hands, and can carry a puck across the dots and into the crease with ease, but how frequent is that and will he keep going to the net and pouncing on those second chances? Is Berglund producing because it’s contract time? I’m not so sure, and there’s no legit evidence to prove his puck and/or grit will persevere.
Armstrong specializes in giving players too many years on an extension, so I’m not surprised. Jori Lehtera did nothing to deserve a three year extension back in 2015, and Jay Bouwmeester didn’t deserve his extension either. Carl Gunnarsson didn’t even need a bump, and he was extended. Contracts that bury a team with little cap space to work with at the start.
Berglund’s next contract should have been right around his current wage, if not less, and nowhere near five years. What got into Armstrong’s head that he felt a five year warranty was required on Patrik Berglund? Explain it to me.
The uptick in scoring in January and February is nice, but the moment I saw Berglund making near four million average for five more seasons, I was puzzled. I don’t care what other teams are doing. I care about what the Blues need and this contract is another head scratcher.
It makes me think that a sign/trade ordeal may be possible, but I doubt Armstrong is that bold. I don’t think he was ever that bold. When was his last good trade? Honestly, I’m ready for Army to fumble the task of getting true value for Kevin Shattenkirk, and sign his own death slip as the Blues GM.
The Berglund detractors may unite to find the good will in this deal, but I don’t see it. There will be a crowd who thinks he is a useful third line center, but I think the team could have re-directed the cash towards a younger player.
In summary, here are the three main reasons I am uneasy about the extension: the five years attached, the streaky tendencies of the player, and the fact that player production can go down after age 30.
The Blues resume play tonight in Chicago, and here’s to Berglund banking(off his ass) in a couple goals and proving me wrong, one Bergie dance at a time.
The Blues gave him too much cake.