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Despite expiring contract, Patrice Bergeron hopes to remain in Boston after this season

Sep 18, 2010, 6:45 PM EDT

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bergeroncoolfaceoffphoto.jpgA few seasons before it was reasonably common for an 18-year-old player to make an immediate jump to the NHL, Patrice Bergeron accomplished that task in the 2003-04 season, scoring 39 points in 71 games. It’s honestly hard to believe that the six-year veteran is only 25 years old, especially when you consider the bumpy, concussion-plagued road he traveled.

Last year was a nice (if not spectacular) year for the two-way center as he made the 2010 Olympic team and helped the Boston Bruins make the playoffs despite Marc Savard’s injury problems. Still, you have to wonder if this might be his last season in Beantown; in fact, you never know if his $4.75 million cap hit and $5.75 million salary might make him expendable this season.

While that situation lacks some clarity, Bergeron said he wants to remain in Boston. ESPN Boston’s Joe McDonald shares Bergeron’s thoughts.

Team captain Zdeno Chara’s contract also expires after the season and Chiarelli has said he would like to retain both players. Bergeron is willing to talk during the season, but if his situation becomes a distraction to him or the team, he would rather wait until the offseason, he said.

“I never really thought about it, to be honest with you,” he said. “For now, I’m thinking about hockey and there hasn’t been [contract] talks in the last couple of weeks. I’m just thinking about hockey, but if we do come down to having conversations during the year, and I feel it’s not distracting me, I’ll keep going. If I feel like it is [a distraction], I’ll tell Peter I’d like to stay in Boston, but I’ll [talk extension] later.”

Those concussion worries will linger for some time, but Bergeron brings a nice mixture of playmaking, defensive prowess and faceoff winning skills to the table. If Boston passes on him at some point, there should be a decent amount of teams looking to add him as a second or third center next summer.

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