Patrice Bergeron Retires (And Reminds Us That the Draft is an Inexact Science)

On Tuesday morning, the hockey world learned that one of the best of his generation is hanging up his skaters. Boston Bruins center and captain Patrice Bergeron announced in a statement through the organization that he has played his final game in the NHL.

Bergeron, who turned 38 on Monday, walks away as one of the greatest defensive centers who has ever played. He won six Selke Trophies — I would argue they could re-name the trophy for Bergeron. In 2021, he won the Mark Messier Leadership Award, and in 2013 he was named the recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

In 1,294 regular-season games, Bergeron scored 427 goals and added 613 assists. He scored 58 more goals with an additional 78 assists in 178 career postseason appearances as well.

His resume screams first ballot Hall of Famer.

And yet, when we look at that resume, you might notice one element that might be surprising today: he was a second-round pick.

Bergeron was the 45th player selected in the historic 2003 NHL Draft. That draft has been touted as one of the best in league history, and Bergeron falling as far as he did is frequently referenced when discussing the ridiculous depth of that draft class. Chicago certainly benefitted from that year’s class being exceptional; the Blackhawks selected Brent Seabrook in the first round, Corey Crawford in the second and Dustin Byfuglien in the eighth (245th overall).

The 2003 draft class really was amazing. 203 names were called before San Jose selected Joe Pavelski in the seventh round; he has played 1,250 regular-season games and crossed the 1,000-point mark this past season. Four players selected in the ninth round — Matt Moulson, Tanner Glass, Jaro Halak and Brian Elliott — have appeared in more than 500 regular-season games. And the draft is only seven rounds now!

Yes, that draft class is a historic outlier. Scouting has (hopefully, theoretically) improved in the 20 years since Bergeron and others were selected. But there are a few things we can take away from reading the names in that draft today — especially in light of how excited the hockey world was/is about the 2023 class.

Teams reach — and make mistakes. I don’t have to remind Rangers fans that their team took forward (and one-time Blackhawk) Hugh Jessiman at No. 12. He was immediately followed by future LA Kings captain Dustin Brown and Seabrook. He was a big body power forward and the Rangers needed a wagon in their lineup. So they took one. It happens.

Leaders aren’t always obvious — or high picks. Three players selected in the second round — Bergeron, Shea Weber and David Backes — went on to become captains in the NHL. I already mentioned Pavelski falling as far as he did that year. Not every future captain comes into the league and you already know he’s going to wear the C like Sidney Crosby or Jonathan Toews (or Connor Bedard for that matter).

Prospects are not finished products. Bedard has pointed out multiple times this summer that he’s still a teenager. Many prospects continue growing physically after they’re drafted. And their game might develop more than their body in the first couple years after their name is called. It is entirely possible that, by the end of an entry-level contract, a player is 1-2 inches taller than they are at the draft. Most players weigh more once they get into a professional workout and diet environment. The book on a career cannot — and should not — be written about a player when they’re 18 years old.

written by

Tab Bamford has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for almost two decades. He joined Bleacher Nation as the lead Blackhawks writer in May 2022. Tab is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is the author of two books about the Blackhawks: "100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" (Triumph Books) and "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter/X/Instagram/Threads at @The1Tab

more blackhawks news

Let’s Watch All Three of the Blackhawks’ First Career Goals From This Season

On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks put together one of their worst periods of the entire season in St. Louis to bury themselves in a four-goal deficit. However, late in the game Landon Slaggert was able to score his first career...

Blackhawks Prospect Aidan Thompson, Denver Advance To NCAA Championship Game

The first game of the Frozen Four was spectacular! It took 11:09 into overtime for the game to be decided, and it was Denver's Tristan Broz with the shot that ended it. https://twitter.com/BR_OpenIce/status/1778575894774247593 Blackhawks prospect Aidan Thompson had a terrific...

Wow! The Blackhawks Have Called Up Ethan Del Mastro

So, this is a bit of a surprise. On Thursday morning, the Chicago Blackhawks called up defenseman Ethan Del Mastro from Rockford. What makes the move surprising is a number of factors. First, expectations are/were that Connor Murphy would be...

2024 NHL Mock Draft: Frozen Four Two-Round Edition

We're now in the final two weeks of the 2023-24 NHL regular season, but tonight there are two games on the ice outside the NHL that will have plenty of eyeballs from hockey fans. The Frozen Four semifinal games take...

Slaggert’s First, 3 More Years for John & Troy, Frozen Four, Rockford Reinforcements, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Last night's game was the latest dull thud in a season that's had its share of highs and lows. And I've got some other thoughts on the effort last night that I'll get to in a moment. But I wanted...

Coyotes Ugly: Updating the Ongoing Arizona Gong Show

On Wednesday morning, I shared a Frank Seravalli report that the Arizona Coyotes may be in the process of leaving the state of Arizona. As the day continued to unfold, additional reporting from Seravalli, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period...

Blackhawks 2, Blues 5 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

Much like the Blackhawks' previous game against Minnesota, they just didn't show up for this one. The game was 4-0 before you could really even blink. St. Louis scored on their first three shots of the game. After it was...

Blackhawks at Blues – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

A couple notes on the roster below. After Tuesday's practice, head coach Luke Richardson said Nick Foligno is away from the team for a personal matter and will hopefully be back for Friday's game; Taylor Raddysh takes his place. Connor...

Report: NHL Hedging Next Year’s Schedule Around Potential Coyotes Relocation, Sale

A potential bombshell report dropped on Wednesday morning from Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff. According to his report, the NHL "is concurrently drafting two versions of a league schedule matrix for the 2024-25 season, one with the Arizona Coyotes...

Reichel With Bedard, Prospect Rankings (Theirs and Ours), Guttman Hurt, Roster Updates, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

The big news from Tuesday's practice: Lukas Reichel will skate on the Blackhawks' top line with Connor Bedard and Philipp Kurashev tonight in St. Louis. Since his recall from Rockford, Reichel has shown more consistent flashes of the confident, effective...

Latest News

Today’s Best NBA Player Prop Bets – Friday, April 12, 2024

The Milwaukee Bucks versus the Oklahoma City Thunder is a game to see on a Friday NBA slate that includes 15 compelling matchups.Below you'll discover NBA player prop bets for each and every matchup on today's slate -- NBA prop...

Best MLB Prop Bets Today, April 12, 2024

There are 15 matchups on today's MLB schedule, including the Milwaukee Brewers taking on the Baltimore Orioles.There are typically lots of MLB player prop bets available for each and every game. Scroll down to see what opportunities you have in...

How to Watch 76ers vs. Magic: Live Stream or on TV

The Philadelphia 76ers (45-35) will attempt to extend a six-game winning run when hosting the Orlando Magic (46-34) on Friday, April 12, 2024 at Wells Fargo Center. This contest is at 7:00 PM ET on NBCS.In their last outing on...

How to Watch Rays vs. Giants: Live Stream or on TV

Tyler Alexander will take the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays (7-6) when they host starter Keaton Winn and the San Francisco Giants (5-8) in a series opener on Friday, with first pitch at 6:50 PM ET.Keep reading to find...

Knicks vs. Nets Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats and Best Bets – Friday, April 12, 2024

The New York Knicks (48-32) are big, 10-point favorites as they try to continue a three-game winning streak when they host the Brooklyn Nets (32-48) on Friday, April 12, 2024 at Madison Square Garden. The contest airs at 7:30 PM...

Suns vs. Kings Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats and Best Bets – Friday, April 12, 2024

The Sacramento Kings (45-35) will look to De'Aaron Fox (eighth in the league scoring 26.7 points per game) when they try to overcome Kevin Durant (fifth in the NBA with 27.2 PPG) and the Phoenix Suns (47-33) on Friday, April...

Thunder vs. Bucks Predictions, Best Bets and Odds – Friday, April 12, 2024

The Oklahoma City Thunder (55-25) are big, 14.5-point favorites as they attempt to extend a three-game win streak when they host the Milwaukee Bucks (49-31) on Friday, April 12, 2024 at Paycom Center. The matchup airs at 8:00 PM ET...

Cavaliers vs. Pacers Predictions, Best Bets and Odds – Friday, April 12, 2024

The Indiana Pacers (46-34) are underdogs (+3) as they try to build on a three-game win streak when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers (47-33) at 7:30 PM ET on Friday, April 12, 2024 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The contest airs...

Knicks vs. Nets Predictions, Best Bets and Odds – Friday, April 12, 2024

The New York Knicks (48-32) are heavily favored (-10.5) to build on a three-game winning streak when they host the Brooklyn Nets (32-48) at 7:30 PM ET on Friday, April 12, 2024 at Madison Square Garden. The contest airs on...

Flames vs. Ducks Prediction: Live Odds, Stats, History and Picks – Friday, April 12, 2024

The Calgary Flames are solid favorites (-155) on the road against the Anaheim Ducks (+130) on Friday at 10:00 PM ET.Flames vs. Ducks Favorite, Moneyline, TotalFavorite: Flames (-155)Underdog: Ducks (+130)Total: 6Best Flames vs. Ducks Promo Codes[lasso type="table" id="1"]How to Watch...

more blackhawks news