So far this off-season, aside from the heart-stopping action of Weber’s arbitration and the clerical flub that almost cost us our RFA’s, not much has been done on the Predators front to improve the team. Key losses in Sullivan, O’Brien, Goc, and Ward have resulted in huge holes for the rookies to fill, but alas, Poile did bring in one guy who might just fit into our system. A Kostitsyn 2.0 if you will, Niclas Bergfors.
I have asked around and it is split as to what he can provide to a team, depending more upon which Bergfors shows up to play. Many detractors look at his time in a defensive club like New Jersey and a glaring -7. Many also point out his time in an offensively-charged Atlanta squad with the same result (although he was in the trade to land Kovalchuk, thus sucking the primary offensive weapon out of Atlanta’s lineup). On a positive note, Bergfors had numbers well enough in his rookie campaign between New Jersey and Atlanta to include him in the All-Rookie Team for his 44 points.
GP | G | A | P | PM | +/-
2009-10 New Jersey Devils
54 | 13 | 14 | 27 | 10 | -7
2009-10 Atlanta Thrashers
27 | 8 | 9 | 17 | 0 | -3
2010-11 Atlanta Thrashers
52 | 11 | 18 | 29 | 6 | -11
2010-11 Florida Panthers
20 | 1 | 6 | 7 | 2 | 2
Is Bergfors a scoring machine? No. Does he have potential in the right environment? Possibly. I recently suggested that a line of Bergfors/Legwand/Halischuk could work, but after talking to multiple sources, his defensive skill set might hinder our best shutdown line.
So who do we move around to accompany Bergfors? Maybe a lineup of Bergfors/Fisher/Hornqvist, pair him up with a fellow Swede. If Bergfors were to hit his scoring stride, this lineup could be his best shot. Then have Erat/O’Reilly(Wilson)/Kostitsyn as the other scoring line.
Either way, Poile found a decent acquisition for peanuts (1yr-$575,000). If it goes bust, then it’s not an expensive failure. If he lights it up like Kostitsyn did last season, then David Poile will once again have caught lightning in a bottle.