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Is Anthony Cirelli a Patrice Bergeron in training?

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Cirelli

Remember from Alan’s last Tampa Bay Lightning ten-game report that his three stars were Yanni Gourde, Brayden Point, and Anthony Cirelli? At the time Alan published, Cirelli was at the end of a five-game point streak, and caught everyone’s eye with an increase in scoring. Here’s what Alan said about Cirelli:

Cirelli is particularly interesting. He’s doing his normal thing of posting dominant defensive numbers. But he’s also done some scoring to start the season, which is new. However, that bump in scoring isn’t matched by a bump in offensive play in terms of how many shots he’s taking or or contributing to so I wouldn’t bet on this newfound scoring to continue. Even so, he’s a valuable player and just his defensive impact alone makes him one of the most important players on this roster.

The Tampa Bay Times noticed Cirelli’s point streak too, and wrote a profile on him yesterday. Two things struck me while I read the piece. First, that Coach Jon Cooper thinks of Cirelli as a Bergeron-in-training:

Cirelli has established himself as a strong defensive forward. Coach Jon Cooper believes he can get to the level of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, arguably the NHL’s best two-way skilled forward.

And second, that other people on the team notice that he’s one of those quiet leaders-by-example that will one day be more than that:

“He’s showing a lot of leadership out there in how he plays, how he works hard every day, and he puts the puck in the back of the net as well,” teammate Mathieu Joseph said.

A fantasy hockey site pointed out a few days ago that Cirelli has replaced Tyler Johnson on the second line. In yesterday’s overtime loss to the Washington Capitals, the Alex Killorn-Cirelli-Steven Stamkos line was on the ice for around nineteen minutes, and while Cirelli and Stamkos didn’t show up on the stat line, they had interesting chemistry and a lot of defensive responsibilities.

What do you guys think? With an increase in Cirelli’s comfort level in the NHL, he’s scoring more goals. And this, added to his solid defense, might mean something more. Is he the Patrice that we’re looking for? Or is his scoring streak a fluke?

Other stuff I’ve been thinking about:

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