Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, left, and Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron are at a crossroads in their Boston careers. Bergeron is an unrestricted free agent after 18 seasons with the Bruins and Bogaerts, who has won two World Series with the Red Sox, can opt out of his deal at the end of the season. Associated Press photos

At first glance, Patrice Bergeron and Xander Bogaerts couldn’t be much more different. The former grew up in the ice and cold of Quebec where he logged endless hours at indoor arenas honing his craft. The latter spent his youth in the Caribbean sun, playing the summer game on the fields and beaches of Aruba.

Both men have flourished in Boston. They are two of the most impactful athletes the city has seen in the past quarter century. And both face uncertain futures with their organizations.

Bergeron may have played his final game with the Bruins after a Game 7 loss in Carolina on Saturday. His season over, Bergeron is now an unrestricted free agent. He could retire after 18 years in the trenches of the NHL. Or he could sign with another team. No one knows his plans, and the Bruins’ captain wasn’t tipping his hand after Saturday’s loss.

“It’s too fresh right now,” Bergeron said after the 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes. “It still stings from a hard-fought series. We came up short. Obviously I’m going to have to think about it but I’m not there right now.”

No one is ready to think about a future without the heart and soul of the Black and Gold. Especially after a disappointing loss. Teammate Brad Marchand choked back emotion when he was asked about a future without his longtime linemate.

“He’s the backbone of our team,” said Marchand, “obviously the biggest part of our team. We want him to come back.” But Marchand also understands Bergeron has earned the right to dictate his future. Bergeron was drafted during the George W. Bush administration and led the Bruins to three Stanley Cup finals, hoisting the trophy in 2011.


At that point, Bogaerts was only in Class A baseball. He wouldn’t be there for long. Two years later he was playing in the World Series, the first of two championships led by the shortstop. He can, and likely will, opt out of the final three years of his contract and become a free agent after the season.

Over the weekend Bogaerts told Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe that he was open to negotiating an extension during the season. That’s a departure from the belief that talks between the sides ended on the final day of spring training.

It’s also a reminder that Bogaerts wants to stay in Boston. He is once again performing at an All-Star level, sitting in the Top 10 of the American League in several offensive categories.

“I want to be here and help this team get going,” Bogaerts told Abraham. “This is my team. But everything is not in my control. I’ll give this team everything I can until the last day. I hope it’s not for a long time.”

The comments to Abraham came just days after Jon Heyman of the MLB Network reported that a friend of Bogaerts said “he’s going to leave” after the season.

It’s hard to imagine Bogaerts in another uniform. Or Bergeron skating for another team. But in recent years we’ve watched Mookie Betts with the Dodgers, Tom Brady in Tampa Bay and Zdeno Chara in an Islanders and Capitals uniform. Leaders and captains move on.

Brace yourself. Two of the best may be doing just that in the very near future.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN and a Lewiston High School graduate.

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