The Case Against Re-Signing Berglund

This may very well be a moot point after the trade deadline. Doug Armstrong may move Berglund to another contender for a prospect and/or pick. But let’s assume that Patrik Berglund plays out the year for the Blues. Then he becomes a free agent, and the Blues have a decision to make.

Does Doug Armstrong offer the Swedish centerman another contract? Or does he let him walk to another team? Berglund for years has been a player on which Blues fans love to hate. Some of that is unwarranted, of course. Berglund has been a productive two-way forward for several years now. He’s twice topped 20 goals in a season. He’s anchored the middle 6 forwards for many different Blues rosters.

But Berglund can be very streaky. His point production hasn’t passed 38 points since his third season in the league, when he scored a career-high 52 points. The Blues, and their fans, thought he was slowly blossoming into a top 2 center, but instead he’s settled into a third-line role.

In the summer of 2014, after he scored just 14 goals, the Blues extended him to a three-year, $11.1 million contract. This struck many in the fan base as odd, as at the time, a forward earning almost $4 million per season was usually a top 6 forward. Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis, in the summer of ’14, signed a 5-year, $23 million contract. He put up 89 points over the 2013/14 and 14/15 seasons. The Canadiens’ David Desharnais, in the spring of 2013, signed a 4-year, $14 million contract. He scored 100 points over the next 2 years.

Berglund, however, notched just 12 goals the year following his extension. Many fans viewed Berglund as overpaid and under-producing.

This year he’s had a goal resurgence, with 17 over 57 games played. But it seems his play-making ability has decreased recently. He had just 5 assists last season, and has just 7 so far this season. Let’s not fail to consider the contract year factor. This wouldn’t be the first time, nor will it be the last, that a player with an expiring contract plays well to raise his value and negotiating power for his next contract. During the 2014-15 season, Matt Beleskey scored a career-high 32 points before becoming a free agent. Thomas Plekanec put up a very respectable 54 points in 2015-16, earning a 2-year, $12 million extension.

So the Blues may well be tempted to try to bring Berglund back. But this would be a mistake. Players don’t often take pay cuts, and, especially if he notches 20 goals this year or more, Berglund will be asking for more than $4 million a year. Since history shows that he’s as likely to NOT score 20 goals in a season, he’d be (again) overpaid.

The Blues would do better to bring in a new face, hopefully a genuine top 2 center next year. Ivan Barbashev is playing well, and he could be a candidate to take over the middle of the third line. Doug Armstrong will need Berglund’s cap space, and Kevin Shattenkirk’s, in order to accommodate that center.

Berglund has had a very nice career for the Blues. But it’s time for him and the team to amicably part ways.

Thanks for reading.

*Image courtesy Wikipedia Creative Commons
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2 thoughts on “The Case Against Re-Signing Berglund

  1. If the Blues were to make a deal, they could send Berglund and Shattenkirk as part of a nice package deal to EDM, MTL, or even TOR. All three teams could use players like these two and all three teams have young players that fit the mold of the future Blues squad. I would like for them to take a shot at trading the two to TB, but their salary cap situation is a nightmare for the next several years to come.

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    1. I agree, and I think a player like even Paajarvi could be part of a blockbuster including Shattenkirk. His improved play of late could be enticing. But I am curious to see what he could become for the Blues.

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