Is Patrik Berglund in for a Steen-Like Career Year?

Is Patrik Berglund in for a Steen-Like Career Year?
Franklin Steele


Could Patrik Berglund Pull an Alexander Steen this Year?

When you look at the St. Louis Blues roster, a number of talented wingers should pop out at you. Vladimir Tarasenko has the potential to be an electrifying goal scorer. T.J. Oshie was recently featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Alexander Steen erupted for 33 goals last season and there was even some talk of Paul Stastny playing wing since the Blues are already so stacked at center.


Nowhere in that preseason conversation was Patrik Berglund mentioned. With the arrival of Stastny and the signing of Jori Lehtera, the 2006 first-round pick seemed closer to a trade out of St. Louis than a top-line role. Head coach Ken Hitchcock sees things in a different way though, and he’s giving Berglund a chance to play on the top line along with David Backes and T.J. Oshie. It was there that Steen was able to notch career highs in every major offensive category in 2013-14.


Could Berglund benefit to the same degree?

Prior to last season, Steen’s best goal total had been 24, and that came back in 2009. If there was a Blues player earmarked for a sudden 30-plus goal eruption, the then 29-year-old wasn’t him. He clicked alongside Backes and Oshie though, and played his way into a new three-year, $17.4 million contract. Meanwhile, Berglund bounced from line to line, scoring just once in his first 24 contests.


Every fan base seems to have one player that drives them nuts for any number of reasons. On paper, Berglund is a head coach’s dream. He’s 6’4″, 215 pounds and has a high hockey IQ to boot. That’s why the Blues made him the 25th-overall selection in 2006, and that’s why he drives Blues fans up a wall. The pieces are obviously there. The player just can’t get them to come together.

Something strange and mildly under-the-radar happened to Berglund last year though; something that seemed to really propel him to a new level of play, at least temporarily. He was an Olympian for Team Sweden, and if you’ll recall that squad faced a boatload of injuries down the middle. Henrik Zetterberg and Henrik Sedin went down early, stripping Sweden of its two best centers and leaving Berglund as the No. 1 pivot on the team.


That probably should have sunk Sweden’s hopes of winning a medal, but the squad made it all the way to the Gold medal game against Canada. Berglund was a big part of that gutsy push from the Swedes, and when he got back to Missouri he looked like a different player. He produced seven points in his first 10 games following the Olympics, meaning nearly 22% of his overall production on the year came immediately after Sochi. Most players struggled to deal with jet lag, but Berglund looked like he had finally put it together.


Then the Blues hit a rough patch as a team, and fell flat in the postseason against the Chicago Blackhawks. Berglund went cold and didn’t register a point in his final 13 games, including the playoffs. Despite that, Hitchcock might be onto something with his new-look top line. Backes and Oshie are renowned two-way players, and Berglund is underrated in that regard.

Perhaps looking to him to score along the same lines as Steen isn’t fair—after all, odds are against Steen himself being able to keep pace with the numbers he set last year—but Berglund could be in line for his best year at the NHL level. He’s never scored more than 22 goals and has only broken the 50-point barrier one time.


On a Blues team that has a number of scoring threats, 50 points from Berglund would simply give them another player capable of finishing on any given night. Consistency has always been the biggest issue for the Swede, but playing with guys like Backes and Oshie tend to make those problems go away.


It seems that Hitchcock is looking to settle Berglund into a top-six role after shuffling him around last season, and that bodes well for the 26-year-old. St. Louis doesn’t need him to be an All-Star. They do need him to be solid, and he has a chance to be just that if he sticks on this team’s top unit.[/vc_column_text][dt_fancy_separator separator_style=”dotted” separator_color=”accent”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

One Pingback/Trackback

    02 October 2014 at 9:10am
    […] What should the Blues expect from Patrik Berglund? [Todays Slap Shot] ...
  • Hockey News: Karlsson Named Captain; Bobby Ryan Signs Contract
  • Pingback: Hockey News: Karlsson Named Captain; Bobby Ryan Signs Contract()

Franklin Steele

Franklin Steele has been watching and playing hockey since the age of six. He's written for a variety of NHL websites around the web, and now is the director of content and growth for TodaysSlapshot.com. A lot of folks say they are living the dream sarcastically. He is not among them. Feel free to email him or Tweet at him with any questions, comments or concerns.

More in Central

Ostrava, 10.5.2015, Ice Hockey IIHF World Championships, Slovenia - USA, Goalie Connor Hellebuyck (USA) makes a save after shot from Andrej Tavzelj (SLO).****NO AGENTS----NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY----NO AGENTS----NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY****

Connor Hellebuyck Could Be the Jets’ Most Valuable Prospect

Luke LapinskiMay 20, 2015
APR 26, 2015: St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) watches the faceoff in the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota. The Minnesota Wild beat the St. Louis Blues 4-1 and advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Clock Ticking for Blues on Hitchcock, Tarasenko, Sobotka

Pavel KofmanMay 19, 2015
HOCKEY: MAY 01 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships - USA v Finland

Rinne and Saros Impress at IIHF World Championship

Mark HarrisMay 19, 2015
25 April 2015: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning goal in the third period in action during game 6 of Round One between the Nashville Predators and the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center, in Chicago, IL.

What a Stanley Cup Would Mean for the Chicago Blackhawks

Franklin SteeleMay 19, 2015
1 March 2015: Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) skates during the first period in the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Nick Foligno Leads New Leadership Group in Columbus

Luke LapinskiMay 17, 2015
May 7, 2015 Blackhawks defensemen Michal Rozsival (32) is helped off the ice by teammates defensemen Duncan Keith (2) and forward Brad Richards (91) during the first period at the Minnesota Wild vs Chicago Blackhawks at Excel Energy Center.

Blackhawks Tap Two to Fill Michal Rozsival Void

Mark HarrisMay 17, 2015