Berglund Shines, Takes Home Silver Medal
photo © 2011 Bridget Samuels | more info (via: Wylio)
The World Championships have come to a close and one member of the St. Louis Blues, Patrik Berglund, will return home as the most successful local representative to compete in the tournament. Berglund’s Sweden fell one game short of taking home the gold medal, but his silver medal is more than well deserved. The forward had an outstanding tournament, finishing second in both goals (8) and points (10) amongst all competitors.
For starters, a huge congratulations goes out to Berglund for a job well done. It is a bit disappointing that his side wasn’t able to complete their run and were blown out 6-1 in the gold medal game by Finland, but you really can’t let the sour ending take away from his overall impressive play.
Berglund’s huge performance in this year’s tournament may come as a surprise to those not in the St. Louis area, but to those of us who were able to follow his performance all season long, we know just how talented the young forward can be. Over the course of the 2010-11 season, Berglund notched 22 goals and 30 assists in 81 games, a nice rebound from what most would label a very disappointing 26-point season in 2009-10.
Simply put, when he is on, Berglund is on. At times during the World Championships it appeared as if every shot he would take would find twine in the back of the net. Alex Pietrangelo of Team Canada also impressed at this year’s World Championships, but by far, Berglund’s ability to repeatedly score key goals for his team made him the clear best member of the Blues in attendance.
So what does this mean moving beyond the tournament?
Berglund now returns home and will wait as the Blues decide what to do with his contract moving forward. He finds his name amongst several other teammates that are restricted free agents heading into the 2011-12 season, which means the Blues will need to extend at the very least a qualifying offer in order to keep him off the open market.
While we shouldn’t make too many assumptions/conclusions following Berglund’s play in the World Championships, it does seem likely that he will see a slightly increased offer than he would of if he would have came out struggling for Team Sweden. Also it seems like a safe conclusion that other teams definitely took notice of his play and would be eager to have a chance to bid on him if the Blues decide to go another route (let’s hope they don’t).
The first thought that immediately comes to mind while watching Berglund trounce international competition is that he could be in for a huge 2011-12 season. This thought actually bares quite a bit of merit as it has seemed throughout his three years in St. Louis that he is just one step between being a good player and being a truly great player.
Last season we saw Berglund post a new career-high in goals (22) and points (52), which are two totals that seemingly could be bested if he continues to skate with the type of intensity we saw him use with Sweden.