Bruce Cassidy

Cassidy reflects on Bergeron's legacy, future Bruins captain candidates

The Bruins have several good options for the next captain if Bergeron retires.

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Bruce Cassidy celebrated his day with the Stanley Cup in Milton, Mass., on Thursday with the Boston Bruins' goal song blaring from the speakers as he stepped to the stage and hoisted the iconic trophy in the air.

Unfortunately for Bruins fans, he wasn't celebrating a Boston title. Cassidy was fired by the Bruins in June of 2022 after six-plus seasons behind the bench. He quickly landed on his feet and signed with the Vegas Golden Knights, whom he helped lead to a Stanley Cup title this past season.

Cassidy used his day with the Stanley Cup to bring awareness to his new foundation, the Cassidy Murray Foundation, which hopes to increase access to mental health services for grieving families, among other resources.

Cassidy was asked about the Bruins during a brief chat with reporters Thursday, and one of the questions involved B's captain Patrice Bergeron. The 37-year-old center just wrapped up his 19th season with the Bruins, and he has yet to inform the team if he's going to return for a 20th campaign or retire.

How will Cassidy view Bergeron's legacy if the veteran forward does call it a career?

"An outstanding person, great professional, great captain and assistant captain. He's a winner," Cassidy said. "To me, he's a winner and whatever he decides to do, I think he'll always be a guy that the Boston sports fan will cherish after 19 years of watching."

If Bergeron does retire, who could fill that leadership void and step up as the next captain of the franchise?

"That's not for me to decide. I think there's a lot of guys, I really do," Cassidy explained. "The next core is coming. You got David Pastrnak, you got Charlie McAvoy, a number of guys. And you've got Brad Marchand. He's part of the Bergeron core, obviously, but to me, he's a guy who led on the ice and has really grown his game and his leadership. They have a lot of choices there."

The Bruins will have plenty of good choices for captain if Bergeron retires.

Marchand is probably the easiest and best choice. He is one of just two players (along with Milan Lucic) on the team who played for the Bruins during their Stanley Cup-winning season in 2010-11. Not only is Marchand still an elite player, he's become a much better leader over the last 10 years and commands a lot of respect. He's a future Hall of Famer and a B's legend. Captain is a role he's ready for.

The B's could also decide to give the "C" to one of their two franchise cornerstones -- Pastrnak and McAvoy. They are both among the best players at their respective positions, and each one is signed for at least the next eight seasons. Either one would be a fine choice, too.

Bergeron could still come back for another season and lead the Bruins as captain once more. But when he does hang it up, the team will have plenty of qualified candidates to step into that role and wear the "C".

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