NHL Rumors: Patrice Bergeron Will Not Sign Extension

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron has been a part of the Original Six franchise since he was drafted 45th overall during the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.  The French-Canadian has since gone on to become one of the most decorated players of his generation, winning two gold medals with Team Canada in the Olympics, four Selke Trophies as the NHL's best defensive forward, and a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011.  Bergeron was named team captain last January after the previous captain Zdeno Chara signed a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals, and many expect that the 37-year-old will finish his career in Boston.

Despite the optimism, Boston Hockey Now reports that long-time Bruin is not willing to sign a contract extension, and could even become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career:

Current Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron succeeded Chara as captain of the B’s and after two seasons of wearing the C on his jersey, the future hall of famer is still committed to this season and won’t sign an extension until the 2021-22 season concludes, leaving the door open that he could become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career on July 13.

Bergeron doesn't necessarily seem primed to leave the Massachusetts area, but his comments to NHL.com could be unnerving to some fans.  The two-way center reflected on his past contracts and his mindset going into the next negotiation period:

My whole career I’ve always had the [contract] extensions and the long-term deals, so I felt like this time I was like, I just want to play this year and see how I feel, see where we’re at, see a lot of things,

That sounds harmless enough, but when asked about retirement, Bergeron mentioned it's a possibility, but also makes it clear that that is not the only reason he is not signing a contract ahead of the offseason:

It’s in one of those boxes that need to be checked if that’s where I’m at or not. And that’s why I don’t have the answer right now. I’m feeling good, I’m happy with how our team is trending right now in the right direction. So, yeah, it’s there. But it’s not the only question. … It’s definitely not the only reason that I’m not signing.

While it's hard to picture Bergeron in a jersey other than the black and gold one that he has worn for so long, his desire to wait until the offseason to explore all of his options, is noteworthy, to say the least.

Photo Credit: © Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports