Patrik Berglund's hiatus from professional hockey lasted almost seven months.
Berglund, who abruptly left the Buffalo Sabres in December before having his contract terminated, signed a one-year contract with Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Hockey League on Tuesday. Berglund, 31, told his hometown newspaper — Vestmanlands Läns Tidning in Vasteras, Sweden — in January that he lost his passion and joy for hockey upon being traded from St. Louis to Buffalo last July.
Berglund reportedly received interest from NHL teams this offseason but will remain in Sweden to try to re-establish himself. He scored only two goals among four points in 23 games for the Sabres, though he he is only one season removed from scoring 17 goals in 57 games for the Blues.
Berglund was acquired in the Ryan O'Reilly trade to provide center depth behind Jack Eichel and supplementary scoring. He scored 40 goals over the previous two seasons and had a faceoff percentage of 50.9 percent. But Berglund was demoted to a fourth-line role and was averaging a career-low 13 minutes, 3 seconds per game.
On the heels of the team's 10-game winning streak, Berglund was mysteriously absent for practice ahead of a two-game road trip to Washington and Boston on Dec. 15. Former Sabres coach Phil Housley told the media Berglund was ill; however, the team announced one day later that Berglund had been suspended indefinitely.
Berglund failed to join the team for the road trip, and Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported Berglund was unhappy being traded to Buffalo in the first place because he failed to turn in his list of approved trade destinations to the Blues on time.
Berglund later told his hometown newspaper that outwardly he tried to act as if he were content with the move. However, he struggled with the timing of transition, which forced him to leave home in Sweden earlier than usual to arrange the move to Buffalo.