Is Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron the best 2003 draft pick?

Sidney Crosby was right.

We spoke following the 2018-19 season, after which he finished a career-best fourth in the Selke Trophy vote, and I asked him whether the Selke was part of his bucket list. It was pretty much the only major award left for him to bag given he missed his one and only shot at the Calder Trophy years back.

Crosby smiled.

“I’m not sure how many cracks I’m going to get at that,” he said. “As long as Bergy’s in the league, there’s probably only two spots. He’s got one of them locked up every year.”

“Bergy” referred to Crosby’s friend, Olympic linemate and a player he idolized on the 2005 Canadian world junior squad: Patrice Bergeron. And Crosby’s comment wasn’t hyperbolic. This past season marked the 11th consecutive year in which Bergeron was a finalist for the Selke Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s best defensive forward. On Sunday, he was announced as the trophy’s winner for the 2021-22 season. Bergeron is the first five-time Selke winner, eclipsing Bob Gainey, who had shared the record with Bergeron at four.

Bergeron has long been considered one of the greatest defensive forwards of all time, and now he has the strongest case for undisputed status as the greatest defensive forward of all time.

The fifth Selke is just one more notch on the collective belt of the incredible 2003 NHL Draft class, regularly mentioned in the same breath as 1979’s group when people debate the top harvests ever. One could argue 2003 deserves the No. 1 ranking given 1979 had the unfair advantage of filtering prospects in from the WHA.

Regardless of where we rank 2003 – it’s time to give 2015 some respect as the eventual king of draft classes, by the way – it’s universally accepted as great. No argument there. One argument worth having just for fun, though, is where Bergeron ranks among his peers in that draft class. Is he the best 2003 draftee ever? His competition is stiff. Let’s see how he stacks up, armed with his fifth Selke.

The flame-out tier

Early in their careers, these players were among the sport’s biggest stars and looked to be on Hall of Fame trajectories, but they burned brightly and peaked earlier than expected. Zach Parise, Mike Richards, Dion Phaneuf and Thomas Vanek stand out among that crowd. All three enjoyed periods in which they were considered elite players, but their 30s weren’t as kind to their legacies.

Rock-solid careers

These 2003 draftees enjoyed long, productive careers and will be remembered as prominent members of their draft class, even if they fell short of Hall of Fame resumes:

Dustin Brown: Two Stanley Cups, 300+ goals, 700+ points

Dustin Byfuglien: Stanley Cup as a forward, multiple All-Star Games as a defenseman

Jeff Carter: Two Stanley Cups, 400+ goals, 800+ points, Olympic gold medal

Corey Crawford: Two Stanley Cups as a starting goaltender, 260 wins

Ryan Kesler: Five-time Selke finalist and one-time winner

Brent Seabrook: Three Stanley Cups, Olympic gold medal

Ryan Suter: 1,280 games and counting, top five in Norris Trophy vote three times

Late bloomers

These players were reasonably successful in their 20s but blossomed into top-tier players in their 30s and are inching toward Hall-worthy resumes.

Brent Burns: Post-30 years old: two first-team All-Star nods, a second-team All-Star nod, a Norris Trophy and three-time finalist

Joe Pavelski: Well past 400 goals and 900 points, set career high with 81 points in his age-37 season

The other top contenders

5. Corey Perry

Perry is poised to spark “Hall of Very Good” debates once he retires. He has a Hart Trophy to his name, not to mention a Stanley Cup, two Olympic gold medals and more than 400 goals, but he hasn’t been a dominant player since his late 20s. He’s still an extremely useful depth forward and agitator, but he’s not the surefire Hall of Famer he seemed to be 10 years ago.

4. Eric Staal

Staal has eclipsed 1,000 points and has six seasons of 30 or more goals and three seasons of 40-plus goals, with a Stanley Cup ring to boot. The Hockey Hall of Fame is arguably the most lenient of the major North American sports’, so Staal might have the statistical benchmarks to get in. For me, he’s Hall of Very Good: excellent career but just a single second-team All-Star selection and no first-team nods.

3. Shea Weber

Will Weber’s career be remembered someday as Brad Park 2.0? Park was a seven-time Norris finalist but never walked away with the award – nor did he ever win a Stanley Cup. Weber, a dominant two-way defenseman for much of his career, was a three-time Norris finalist but never won it. The closest he’s come to the elusive Cup was last season in which his Montreal Canadiens lost the final in five games. For me, Weber, like Park, has some Hall juice because Weber checks the box of, “Was he among the best few players at his position for at least half a decade?” He earned two first-team All-Star selections and two second-team selections.

2. Ryan Getzlaf

For a more detailed breakdown of Getzlaf’s Hall of Fame credentials, check out this story. He was one of the elite playmaking forwards of his generation, a consummate winner and leader who flirted with some major individual hardware. Based on his assist production in 1,000-plus games, he rubs shoulders almost exclusively with Hall of Famers, so we can expect to see him get in – if not on his first ballot, at least without a long wait.

1. Marc-Andre Fleury

“Flower” has the Stanley Cup rings and a swelling win total that has already reached third all time at 520 and should leapfrog Patrick Roy’s 551 as soon as next season. When Fleury secured his first Vezina Trophy last season, it cemented his resume as first-ballot Hall material. I would argue he was never the best goalie in the world at any juncture of his career, but his athleticism, longevity and class put him near the top of the list of best 2003 draft exports.

King of the 2003 draftees: Patrice Bergeron

The No. 1 reason Bergeron is the best player from the loaded 2003 draft class? He’s the only player on the list who became the best ever at something. He’s the lord of the Selke Trophy, the most dominant defensive forward of all time. On top of showing the defensive chops of true shutdown artists like Gainey and Guy Carbonneau, Bergeron has been an elite two-way play driver in the mold of three-time Selke winner Pavel Datsyuk. Bergeron is the best defensive center in the game yet for years has also been acknowledged for centering the best all-around line in hockey, which includes offensive impact. If he’s played his final NHL game, he’ll do so with 982 career points, a Stanley Cup ring and two Olympic golds to boot.

Checkout latest world news below links :
World News || Latest News || U.S. News

Source link

The post Is Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron the best 2003 draft pick? appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

Tags :