Each day we are going to give you the Final Grade on the Florida Panthers roster. The members here known as The Rat Pack will rotate daily until we have completed our assessment of
bodies talent players. Today’s Final Grade Report is on Steve Bernier.
How Acquired: Draft Day 2010 trade along with Michael Grabner and 2010 1st round draft pick (25th overall) from Vancouver for Keith Ballard and Victor Oreskovich.
Position: Right Wing
2010-2011 Stats: 5 G, 10 A, -14 rating, 21 PIM
2011-2012 Contract Situation: Restricted Free Agent
Steve Bernier has the unfortunate distinction of being the former Canucks player the Florida Panthers kept instead of Michael Grabner. Grabner went on to score 34 goals, as most Panther fans have tried to forget, while Bernier finished juuuuuust a bit shy of that total. Coming off a playoff performance that saw him score 4 goals in the Vancouver’s 12 playoff games, I’m sure the Panthers that hoping that Bernier would be able to build upon that with more ice time in Sunrise. What they got was a decent checking winger who had has worst statistical season as a pro. There were some nights where, his physicality was noticed on a team that needed it and other nights, where only the box score let you knew he was on the ice.
Bernier certainly had opportunities to make more of an impact in the goal column. At some point during the season, he played all four lines, in addition getting occasional power play time. Despite the opportunities, the production just wasn’t there. His goals and assists tallies were the worst of his career. It’s kind of hard to fault him as this team as a whole was an offensive disaster, but guys like Mike Santorelli taking full advantage of theri opportunity help magnify Bernier‘s numbers even more. He was even waived by the Panthers in late February, with no takers. He missed 12 games this past season, eight of which stemmed from a cheap shot to the face courtesy of the butt end of Minnesota’s Brent Burns.
Final Grade: C Ultimately, Bernier was a guy the Panthers had to take from the Canucks to get the Ballard trade to work money wise. The primary goal of that trade was the draft pick, which the Panthers used to select Quinton Howden (of course, Grabner would have been a huge bonus). He made $2 million this past season, the last of his current contract. He did finish with three power play goals, good enough to be tied for fourth on the team in that category, which that, combined with his physical presence on the forecheck kept him from getting a D. He’s an serviceable checking line winger who I wouldn’t mind seeing around for another year to play on the checking line, just not at what he was paid last season.
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