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Will Patrice Bergeron retire after Bruins’ early playoff exit?

The Boston captain could hang up the skates after the Bruins loss in the first round to the Hurricanes.

Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the third period in Game Seven of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on May 14, 2022 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins were ousted from the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs early at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes. The Bruins almost mounted a comeback, but ultimately lost 3-2 in Game 7 on Saturday afternoon. Boston has now lost in the first or second round in the playoffs in five of the past six postseasons. The biggest question facing the franchise heading into the offseason? Patrice Bergeron’s future.

The Bruins captain has finally come to the end of an 8-year, $55 million deal he signed with the team back in the summer of 2013. With Bergeron’s pending unrestricted free agency, there’s speculation he could retire at the age of 36 (he turns 37 over the offseason). Bergeron could look to return for another season on a one-year deal with the Bruins, maintaining his title as captain. It seems unlikely, but there’s also a chance Bergeron decides he wants to continue playing and Boston moves on.

Bergeron really doesn’t have anything left to prove after 18 seasons in the NHL. He’s a four-time Selke Trophy winner for the best two-way forward. He’s got a Cup victory back in 2011 and would finish his career with 982 points (400 goals, 582 assists).

Perhaps the idea of reaching the 1K plateau is appealing enough to give it one more season. The Bruins would be bringing back the same exact roster if Bergeron re-signs. They were one goal off of advancing and would likely compete for a playoff spot in 2022-23. Is that enough to entice Bergeron to return? Maybe.

My gut feeling is Bergeron stays around for one more season. He said after the loss that it was too early to make a comment on his future. Coming back on a one-year deal where if the Bruins are contenders, he can give it another shot at a Cup run and make it to 1,000 career points. If Boston is bad, the team can trade him to a contender to chase a ring before retiring and he gives back to the franchise before calling it quits.