Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rumor: Niclas Bergfors on the Block; Should Rangers go after him?

A few times over the past couple weeks the rumor has circulated that the Atlanta Thrashers are looking to move Niclas Bergfors in a trade.  The most recent discussion of this came yesterday when Kevin Allen of USA Today reported that the Atlanta Thrashers “won’t get a player back when they deal Niclas Bergfors.” He went on to say that they’re likely to get a draft pick or a prospect.  So the question becomes with the Rangers like all other teams always needing to add talent to the roster should they look to acquire him?

Bergfors, 23, is a former 1st round draft pick of the Devils and was the centerpiece of the Ilya Kovalchuk deal and has shown very good skill in his short NHL career.  Last season between NJ and Atl he registered a very respectable 21 goals and 44 points in 81 games and looked like he was on his way to big things having scored 9 goals and 17 point in just 27 games following the trade.  Things have not worked out that way as he has not meshed well with new coach Craig Ramsay and despite putting up 7 goals and 18 points in just 28 games played he has been a healthy scratch consistently over this latest stretch presumably due to defensive issues.

The upside in Bergfors is certainly there as he has impressive offensive skills in his speed and stick handling most notably.  He is strong on the puck, good vision and has a good wrist shot and from watching him with the Devils last year was willing to play the other side of the puck as well, so I am not sure what the problem is with him and Ramsay other than there have been some work ethic concerns which could also be a problem with Tortorella.  

The other issue with the Rangers right now is even though they could stand to add more skill to the lineup it is unclear where he would fit on the roster unless someone like Frolov was moved out.  Fans certainly have had their fill of the enigmatic European players, but I am not convinced that is what Bergfors really is and if they can find a spot for him the cost of a draft pick seems like it might be a risk worth taking on a talent of his potential.

Let me know what you think.