Bruins begin Stanley Cup Playoffs with Patrice Bergeron's future still unknown

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Bruins begin playoffs with Patrice Bergeron's future still unknown originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron just completed one of the finest regular seasons of his 18-year career, which is encouraging for the B's as they begin their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.

But are we about to witness Bergeron's final games in a Bruins sweater?

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Bergeron is 36 years old and in the final year of his contract. Boston's captain said in September that he had no interest talking about or thinking about a new contract during the season. He wanted to keep his focus on helping the Bruins win.

Nothing has changed in that regard.

“I’ve done a good job of staying in the moment,” Bergeron told reporters Sunday. “I think that’s where I’m at right now, still, being ready for Game 1 of the playoffs. That’s all I should really focus on.”

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was asked Sunday about Bergeron's future. He also does not have a firm idea of what's going to happen.

“My job is to put together the most competitive group we can so that I extend his shelf life of wanting to play,” Sweeney said. “His impact is not questioned in terms of what he can do on and off the ice. It’s just a matter of how long he wants to continue to do it. We’re hopeful that he does. I believe in my heart that he does. But that ultimately is Patrice’s decision. I’ve been respectful of that from Day 1. I’ll continue to be until he says, ‘Let’s get this done.’”

Bergeron is the clear favorite to win the Selke Trophy for the fifth time -- which would move him past Montreal Canadiens legend Bob Gainey for the most ever.

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The veteran forward tallied 65 points (25 goals, 40 assists) in 73 games. He hit the 400-goal mark for his career last Thursday with a hat trick against the Buffalo Sabres. He's just 18 points away from 1,000.

Bergeron dominated defensively. In addition to leading the league in faceoffs won and faceoff percentage, he ranked No. 1 in expected goals for percentage (69.19), shot attempts for percentage (65.58), shots on net for percentage (67.23) and scoring chances for percentage (66.71) during 5-on-5 action, per Natural Stat Trick.

He's still very much an elite player and it wouldn't be surprising if he kept up this pace for another two or three seasons. The question is whether Bergeron wants to keep playing that long.

For now, Bruins fans should just enjoy these playoff games, because it's unknown how many more Bergeron will play.