Patrik Berglund is in the midst of a somewhat disappointing season for the St. Louis Blues, but he’ll have a chance to find his A-game in Sochi as a member of Team Sweden. The Swedes aren’t going to be the most physical group playing in the Winter Games, but they could very well be the fastest.
With Henrik Sedin forced to sit the tournament out due to injury, Berglund went from potential fourth-line center to at least the third line. It’s unlikely that he’ll crack a top-six that includes Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Backstrom. Instead, the Swedes will be looking to Berglund to play the same way that he does for the Blues on a nightly basis.
He’s been a third-line staple in St. Louis all year long and has also spent some time on both the power play and penalty kill. Berglund will be utilized as a bit of a catch-all player on a team that is chock full of game-breaking talent, and that is a role that the 25-year-old should be comfortable with.
He is third on the team with 35 takeaways, and is a bit of an underrated hitter as well. He’s also fourth on the squad with with 76 hits in 54 games. Berglund is not throwing the body around like David Backes (179 hits in 52 contests), but on a Swedish team that’s mostly void of physicality, that could make a difference.
Where the Swedes really need Berglund to shine is in the faceoff circle, which shouldn’t be an issue. He has won nearly 50% of his draws for the Blues this season, and for a team that will need the puck more often than not to make some noise, winning draws and possessing the puck is key.
It’s likely that he’ll see time against the opposing team’s top forwards as well, and while no one accuses Berglund of being the go-to shutdown center for the Blues, he’s no slouch either. Sweden is counting on him to play strong two-way hockey because, frankly, he hasn’t been scoring very much for St. Louis all season long.
He’s only posted eight goals on the year and he’s gone goaless since January 9—a drought of 14 contests. Berglund played well for a few games after being named to the Olympic squad, so maybe doing some time with Team Sweden will be good for the former first-round draft pick.
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All stats appear courtesy of Dobber Hockey’s Frozen Pool. It’s behind a pay wall so you’ll either have to pony up or trust us.