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Buffalo Sabres RFA Report: Steve Bernier

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This is the third of the free agent reports that I'll be doing over the next couple of weeks.  There is no hurry on getting these done so I have not set a time table on when they will be completed.  There will be posts everyday but we will focus on whatever is news worthy instead of only the free agent reports.

Daniel Paille (RFA)-  read post
Paul Gaustad (RFA)-  read post
Clarke MacArthur (RFA)- read post
Steve Bernier (RFA)-
Mark Mancari (RFA)-
Dmitri Kalinin (UFA)-
Teppo Numminen (UFA)-
Nolan Pratt (UFA)-
Mike Ryan (UFA)-
Jocelyn Thibault (UFA)-

RW  Steve Bernier- 6'2", 225 lbs.

07-08  76GP 16G-16A-32P  64PIM
career  177GP  45G-45A-90P  128PIM

 

Strengths

Steve Bernier is known for being a power forward since back in his days in Juniors playing for the Moncton Wildcats.  He also has a bit of a scoring touch, all Sabres fans remember his two goals in his Buffalo Sabres debut.  Bernier is not a just a power forward with a scoring touch, he has a mean streak as well.  Sabres fans got a glimpse of that when he defended Derek Roy after an altercation with Jordon Tootoo.  At the young age of 23 Bernier has played in 177 NHL games and he has scored 45 goals while amassing 128 penalty minutes.

Weaknesses

It's beginning to sound like a broken record but like the other young players he struggles with consistency.  The knock on Bernier while with San Jose was that he was power forward that didn't play like one.  I have watched this guy play and I have seen video of him playing and I have seen him play a physical style but he needs to do it every night without taking any nights off.  In his first pro season he scored 20 goals and had 43 points with the Cleveland Barons before being called up to San Jose to finish the season.  He also had an immediate impact in the Sharks lineup but he eventually cooled off.  Last year Bernier had only 16 goals and 16 assists in 76 games played.

Bottom Line

If Bernier gets his head on straight and plays hard in every game he could become one of the dominant power forwards in the NHL.  Only time will tell if the Sabres made a good trade or not but the sky is the limit for Bernier.  He was once a first round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks and he has proven that he can put up good numbers in the NHL as well.  It's all just a matter of putting it all together for Bernier.

Verdict:   The Sabres did not trade for Bernier so they could lose him to free agency.  He will definitely be re-signed and if he isn't expect the lynch mob to come out and head down to "The Bank".  It's evident that Brian Campbell was probably not going to sign with the Sabres but that doesn't change the fact that he was another popular player that the Sabres management let leave.