earned his new deal with stellar play while seriously injured in the Stanley Cup Final. (Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
As expected, the Boston Bruins opened the vault for the second time this week, filling the pockets of Patrice Bergeron to the tune of $52 million over eight years.
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That's only slightly less than the $56 million the team committed to goaltender Tuukka Rask on Wednesday, but don't expect to hear any of the same moaning from Bruins fans over the term or the $6.5 million cap hit being soaked up by Bergeron. Already a popular figure in Boston, the Selke Trophy-nominated center ascended to legend after he suited up for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final with a cracked rib and torn cartilage, and continued to play after sustaining a separated shoulder and a punctured lung during the contest. He ended up hospitalized for observation.
Bergeron’s extension will be effective in 2014-15. This season will be the last on his current three-year, $15 million contract.
Even with the raise, an argument can be made that he's a bargain by today's standards. Bergeron has established himself not just as the heart and soul of the Bruins, but as one of the game's elite two-way centers. He was the runner-up to Jonathan Toews for the Selke as the NHL’s best defensive forward in 2013, after capturing the award in 2012. He won a league-best 62.1 percent of his face-offs this season and excelled in every situation in which he was used.
Despite a crowd of talent at the position, Bergeron is a mortal lock to be one of Canada's four centers if NHLers take part in the 2014 Olympic Games.