Every professional athlete has a unique story about the twists and turns of their career. One former St. Louis Blues forward might take the cake with his latest swerve.
The way the NHL career of former St. Louis Blues forward Patrik Berglund ended was rather inauspicious, to say the least. He basically quit on the Buffalo Sabres.
In the end, we found out the reasons. He did not take being traded from the Blues very well, it affected his mental health and he needed to be away from that environment.
We can debate the manliness of such an action, but there is little argument to be had over a person taking control of their mental health. Berglund did what he felt was best for his well being at that time and if there was any possibility of things heading into a darker place, he absolutely made the right decision.
Berglund has gone on to a reasonably successful career in Sweden since then. He played for Djurgardens IF in the Swedish League in 2019-20.
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Berglund was tied for seventh in goals scored. The big forward had 17 goals and 14 assists in 52 games for them.
17 goals was exactly what he scored for the Blues in his final year in St. Louis. 31 points is just seven shy of his career best in the NHL, which he might have eclipsed if not for the pandemic.
However, despite seeming to be a bright spot for a team that finished in sixth place, Djurgardens seemed to have little interest in bringing him back. Or, as the Post-Dispatch put it, they were in no rush to give him a new contract.
So, Brynas jumped at the chance to bring in the former Blues man. Brynas finished in 12th place out of 14 teams last season, so any addition of talent that is capable of being in the NHL could only help them.
There was only one small problem. Brynas had already spent all its allocated money for player salaries.
The Post-Dispatch article sites several reports from Sweden saying the team had reached its salary limit. You would think that would mean a salary cap, but the way things played out, it would seem that means the owner or owners literally had no more money to spend.
In an interesting twist that fits right in with how Berglund’s hockey career has gone of late, fans fit the bill for his, and one other player’s, salary. In total, Brynas fans, as well as a private investment from a company whose owner is apparently a big fan of the team, chipped in for $341,000.
$231,000 was just from fans. The rest was from that company.
Only in today’s modern world could an athlete’s salary come from what amounts to a Go Fund Me type of effort. Different leagues and different countries have different rules, but this seems very odd and potentially a bad precedent for teams to recruit a player and then ask if fans can pay the wages.
Nevertheless, hopefully both Berglund and Brynas end up successful. I, as well as most Blues fans, have no reason to have anything but good will toward Berglund.
While it would have been great for his career here to have had more success, he was still a good player and his trade also brought in an integral piece to the team’s Stanley Cup. In a way, Berglund played a part in winning that championship, even though he would rather have stuck around.
Ultimately, I hope his personal demons are taken care of and he continues to play as long as he can, whether that be in Sweden or a return to the NHL.
Given his age, a return to North America seems unlikely, but all the best to him no matter what his career holds. If nothing else, hopefully this is the last of his oddities and he can just have a normal career from here on out.