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Was Berglund Really That Bad?

by Jeff Ponder
July 13, 2010

2009-10 was a season that Patrik Berglund would like to put behind him.

After a wonderful rookie season in which the Swede scored 21 goals and 47 points, Berglund had a trying second season. He found himself in a drought early, moving from the top two lines all the way down to the fourth line many games. It seemed near-impossible that Berglund could ever pull himself off his slump.

But the question that seems to loom over Berglund is simple; was he really that bad?

Let's take a dive into his statistics, shall we? Berglund did have just 13 goals and 13 assists in 71 games played. Those are not too impressive numbers for someone who is expected to be a top-six forward on an up and coming team. Points do not speak much about a player unless they are compared to the players around him.

A statistic that is not recognized by the NHL is points per minute played. This unofficial statistic is calculated by dividing the amount of points by the amount of time played during the season. Berglund amassed .027 points per minute played in 958:39 played all season. This is just less than a few of his teammates. Berglund's teammate T.J. Oshie, who tied for second on the team with 48 points, put together .034 points per minute played in 1392:13 total minutes. Berglund saw much of his season on the last offensive line, while Oshie spent much of his season on the top line. Yet, their points per minute was not really that far off from each other.

Another teammate of Berglund's, who also did not have a great offensive year, was Brad Boyes. After coming off of a season in which he scored 72 points, Boyes totaled 14 goals, 28 assists and 42 points in all 82 games played. His lack of production also showed with his .031 points per minutes played (just .004 better than Berglund), in 1376:43 time played.

Berglund also is comparable to his teammates when looking at goals per minute played. Oshie, scoring 18 goals, had a goals per minute played of .013, while Berglund totaled .014 goals per minute played. Boyes, racking up 14 goals on the season, scored .010 goals per minute played. So this comparison actually has Berglund coming out on top as the best goal producer in the time he was given to play.

Looking around the league, Berglund compares to many skaters that are in his age range. Kris Versteeg, 24, scored 20 goals, 24 assists and 44 points and .036 points per minute played, as well as .016 goals per minute played. His point production may have been given a lift more than Berglund, since he was playing on a line with Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp much of the season in Chicago.

Columbus' Derick Brassard, 22, was expected to come back after a major injury he suffered in his rookie year and help bolster an already strong Blue Jacket offense. But he did not impress the way that he was expected. His nine goals and 36 points were as impressive as the rest of his team's play, as well as his points per minute played of .031 in 1180:25. His goal per minute played was even more atrocious (really helping Berglund's cause), amassing just a .008.

So when taking into account his numbers in the amount he played, his stats are very comparable to other players in the Central Division. But many qualms with Berglund were his lack of focus and his inability to be physical.

"Some times in some situations, you might play a little too safe," Berglund said last November when he was demoted to the fourth line. "I feel like some times I do it. That is something that I've been thinking about. You can't be out there playing too safe. You want to be in position and when the chances are coming, you want to be there. It's something I want to ignore a little bit. I need to after more. I can't think about playing safe. It's up in your head, but I'm trying to work it out."

So Berglund knew that his focus and his over-thinking was a problem from the start. That is hopefully something that he has worked on over his long summer away from the rink.

Al MacInnis, Vice President of Blues Hockey Operations, weighed in on Berglund's physical play back in January of 2008 when he visited the World Junior Championships. “He’s got the ability; he just needs to be a little stronger.”

Berglund has always had skeptics about his physical play; at 6'4” 215 lb, he is expected to be a physical presence. But Berglund was never a physical player and was always the guy that dished the puck in Sweden.

This was just Berglund's second year. It is highly possible that Berglund will rebound and have a strong third year. But if he doesn't, don't be surprised to see him packing his things and headed back to Sweden next summer.

MacInnis and company are hoping that will not be the case.

Stay tuned in with Jeff Ponder's BluesNetMix blog by checking in every Tuesday at bluesnetmix.com.

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