By Michael Russo
The Wild has traded a third-round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, a hard-shooting, strong-skating player who scored 15 goals in 2005-06 for the Oilers and a career-high 46 points in 2006-07 for the Islanders and Oilers (He was traded to the Isles for Denis Grebeshkov, whom the Oilers are extremely high on).
His 38 goals the past three years rank ninth among NHL defensemen.
Bergeron was dealt to the Ducks from the Islanders in February after scoring nine goals and 18 points in 46 games for the Isles. Bergeron didn’t get in any playoff games for the deep blue-line Ducks.
Bergeron is considered mid-range defenseman. According to a writer in Edmonton, “he can shoot like hell and skate, but he’s very unsure of himself, doesn’t have a lot of self-esteem, gets down on himself. He also struggles at times in his own end. He’s serviceable. He’s can play some reasonable minutes, but he’s prone to mistakes the more minutes he gets.”
What I know of him is he’s one of the hardest-shooting defensemen in the NHL. He’s got a bullet, like a left-shot Kurtis Foster, only much smaller. He also tends to have blinders in his own zone as far as picking up guys that are closing in on him. But this is a depth move as the Wild looks to replace guys like Sean Hill, Petteri Nummelin, Keith Carney and potentially Foster at the start of the season.
I still think the Wild needs to get grittier on the back end, perhaps going after rugged blue-liners Brooks Orpik (named after Herb Brooks) or Mike Commodore when free agency begins.
I’m told by league sources that the Wild is very close to signing Erik Reitz, who could have become a free agent. It would be a one-way deal, meaning he has a great chance to be on the team.
I’ll also have some other news later tonight for you and some analysis on the Bergeron addition, so check back in.