When Florida Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon was building his new look squad last summer he turned many heads as a lot of the guys he signed were a gamble. Sean Bergenheim was no exception to this as Tallon rolled the dice in hopes that Bergenheim would maintain his scoring touch which he developed with Tampa Bay Lightning the previous season. Luckily for Tallon, he was right.
Bergenheim is a 28-year old Helsinki, Finland native who was drafted in the first round, 22nd overall by the New York Islanders back in 2002. He would spend parts of 4 seasons with the club where he remained a 20 point producer before signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season.
With the Lightning, Bergenheim hit a career high in points (29) while appearing in 80 games with the organization. But, what turned heads in the NHL was his playoff performance where he recorded 9 goals in only 16 games.
Evidentially, this was something which Tallon took note of when he offered up the 4-year contract to Bergenheim. In 62 games with the Panthers this season, Bergenheim scored 17 goals and added 6 assists. He set a career high in goals, and was certainly on track to set a career high in points if it weren’t for a lower body injury which saw him miss 20-games from October 20th to January 20th.
In the postseason Bergenheim proved to once again be a playoff beast as he led the team in scoring as he notched 3 goals, and added 3 helpers in 6 games, all three goals were clutch and provided a spark when it was needed. If nothing else, it provided insight on what the Panthers have to look forward to in the coming seasons.
Overall, Dale Tallon looks to have made the right decision on signing Bergenheim. He is only a young player and with more ice time Bergenheim will only flourish into a more rounded player. His cannon shot, and key timing proved to be a much needed weapon on the Panthers offence all season long as his energy on the ice always sparked the club.
Fans in south Florida need Bergenheim to carry his hot post-season play into next season for the Panthers as they will once again look to be contenders in the South East Division. Hopefully, playing a full, healthy season will pay off for Bergy as he has nowhere to go but up in his young career.
Final Grade: B
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