Patrik Berglund has agreed to a one-year, $3.25 extension with the St. Louis Blues, as reported by Jeremy Rutherford. One of the team's pending restricted free agents, Berglund is now locked up through the 2013-14 season.
At 25, Berglund has skated with the Blues since the 2008-09 season. He has appeared in 358 regular season games and has scored 92 goals and 96 assists. He just completed a two-year, $4.5 million contract. Unfortunately, as a member of the team's main offensive core, Berglund has been criticized for his inability to take his game to a higher level.
What should we make of his new contract?
Berglund sticking with the Blues shouldn't come as much of a surprise after Doug Armstrong openly stated that he would match any offer sheet given to Berglund, Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk or Alex Pietrangelo. The length of his contract also falls in line with what most fans expected. Berglund is still in the "prove yourself" stage of his career and a one-year contract still gives the Blues plenty of flexibility if things don't work out.
Barring a trade, it's clear the Blues want to at least give Berglund one more shot. He was second on the team in goals this past season, finding the back of the net 17 times. Berglund nearly matched his goal total from 2011-12 (19) in just over half the time. You could make a strong argument that Berglund played the best hockey of his still fairly young career during the abbreviated season.
Berglund is a member of a St. Louis core which has failed to bring home a title. He and several other teammates are all at risk of being shown the door if they don't start producing at a higher rate. Berglund's new deal is one that nearly every NHL team would be happy paying should the Blues find a trade which works in their favor.
Armstrong has once again made a sensible decision which works out for everyone involved. The Blues retain a player with plenty of upside for a modest price. Meanwhile, Berglund receives a small raise (relatively speaking) for his improved performance in 2013, but he's kept hungry and motivated by the fact he's still playing for a new contract.
On an unrelated note, it will still be fun using the ol' "Teach me how to Bergie!" celebration whenever the forward tallies a goal. It's a personal favorite.
Great deal for both sides. The question I've always had with Berglund is what is our expectation, and is it reasonable? Being a first round pick that has shown an ability to play very well in front of the net and pocket quite a few goals, I think the common expectation was for him to become a top 6 forward minimum, maybe even top C. Because he has never quite "put it all together", he's been relegated to 2nd/3rd line duty, and though he finds the back of the net, he still seems to infuriate fans with his inconsistency with an open net and his sometimes lax defense.
In my opinion, the two factors defining this deal will be whether Berglund's overall performance improves and whether Armstrong adds a top 6 center. If neither of those things happen, and Berglund is a 2nd line C with the same production this year as last, I think Armstrong either lowballs next year or lets him walk. If either he improves or he is moved to 3rd line C by the addition of a top 6 C, I think this deal is called a success and he gets an extension for around 3.75M-4M for 4 years or so. If both happen, and he increases performance while only being depended on as a 3rd line C, I think he gets a big extension, maybe 4.5M for 5 years and the Blues contend for the West and the Cup.
@lizardkingjl Nice analysis. I've always wondered what is a reasonable expectation for Berglund and my opinion has shifted over the years. I had hoped he could be a consistent threat in front of the net and while he has shown he can bury the puck, I would have expected him to be more reliable.
I think you make some fair assessments in regards to his future. I still think Berglund is a prime trade candidate should the right offer emerge. He still has that notion of a decent upside which a lot of teams would be interested in. At this stage, I'm not comfortable with giving him more than a one-year deal and I'm definitely not comfortable giving him more than $3.25 or $3.5 a season. My concern is that even though he may improve and do big things in 2013-14, there are still the handful of seasons where he's been mostly underwhelming.