The trade of Brian Campbell yesterday gave the Sabres a under-achieving power forward. The fact remains that Bernier is only 22 and has a ton of potential but the Sharks were willing to give up on him despite the rave reviews Bernier gets from fans. The trade does help the Sabres with their lack of forward depth. A look at the Sabres current roster looks like this:
17-Marc-Andre Gragnani (he is a natural defenseman but is playing forward)
61-Max Afinogenov (IR)
21-Drew Stafford (IR)
When everyone is back healthy the line combinations could look something like this:
26-Vanek 9-Roy 61-Afinogenov
55-Hecht 19-Connolly 29-Pominville
20-Paille 28-Gaustad 12-Stafford
12-Kotalik 22-Mair 56-Bernier
Scratches: MacArthur, Peters, Kaleta, Ryan
The defense obviously took a blow by losing Campbell but it will allow Paetsch to be a regular player and it could give Sekera, Weber and Gragnani an opportunity to play. If the defense could just avoid the simple mistakes they always seem to make they would be alright. In the past couple of weeks Campbell has struggled in his own zone and he could be held personally responsible for many goals scored by the opponent in recent games.
As for the offense I think that when healthy the addition of Bernier gives the Sabres four lines that can contribute offensively. We have seen a recent resurgence in Thomas Vanek, now just imagine the other lines starting to contribute. I was completely against the trading Campbell but I'm coming around quickly. We could see Bernier develop into a solid top six power forward that will help this team for years and with Campbell we knew exactly what we were getting.