Skip to content

Sean Bergenheim hopes to continue playoff momentum and help Panthers break their slump

Sep 19, 2011, 9:30 AM EDT

Comments Off on Sean Bergenheim hopes to continue playoff momentum and help Panthers break their slump
Sean Bergenheim AP

The Florida Panthers made a lot of gambles through trades and free agent signings during the off-season, with Sean Bergenheim‘s four-year, $11 million deal ranking among their leaps of faith. While it wasn’t their riskiest investment (that award goes to the 35+ contract they handed to Ed Jovanovski), the hope rests squarely on a small sample of playoff games representing a “breakthrough” rather than a series of lucky breaks.

When it comes to out-of-nowhere goal scorers, one of the best ways to tell if someone’s production is a fluke is to look at his shooting percentage. It’s not a fool-proof mode of assessment, but sometimes players get an unsustainable amount of “puck luck” that should leave general managers weary.

One can blame at least some of Bergenheim’s great run with the Tampa Bay Lightning on luck. As opposed to his career 7.7 shooting percentage (which was his exact rate during the 2010-11 regular season), Bergenheim connected on 19.6 percent of his attempts in the 2011 playoffs. After scoring just 14 goals in 80 regular season games at his typical rate, Bergenheim scored nine goals in 16 playoff games – a run that included the only tally in Tampa Bay’s decisive Game 7 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

If you look at his larger body of work, his typical expected scoring rate is 10-15 goals. Yet while he has serious one-hit wonder potential (or as I like to call it, “Pisani potential”), there is the outside chance that Bergenheim could build on that breakthrough and become a consistent goal-scoring threat for his new team, the Florida Panthers. That’s certainly what he hopes to achieve starting next season.

“We obviously had a great run there last year, and I was very happy with the way I played in the playoffs,’’ Bergenheim said after Saturday’s opening practice of training camp. “I want to bring that here. I learned a lot last year, and my goal is to play at that level the whole season. In the playoffs, I really found my game — I had it there before — and that’s the challenge this year. I have to play that way all year.’’

Considering all the changes that have taken place in Florida, he should have a great chance to earn a prominent role with the team and receive opportunities to make good on his postseason run. It’ll be interesting to see if he can prove that his playoff output wasn’t a fluke.

***

In other Panthers news, the team hasn’t decided which player should serve as their new captain next season. It makes sense that the franchise might want to drag their feet a bit with that choice considering the changing identity of the roster.

Coach Kevin Dineen said no decision has been made on who will be the Panthers’ new captain. “We’re still a ways away on that one,’’ he said. Center Stephen Weiss and defenseman Ed Jovanovski are considered the favorites.

“You look at [Weiss] as always having a leadership role for his tenure here and the way he plays the game,’’ Dineen said, talking about Weiss working out with rookie Jonathan Huberdeau on Saturday. “Matching him up with one of our future star players is a good mix.’’

Jovanovski might be a hit with fans who fondly remember his first run with the team, but I’d recommend going with Weiss, who’s been with the club through thin and really thin. Ultimately, the most important leader might be new head coach Dineen, who must find a way to take a roster that seems like an unshaped mass of clay and sculpt them into a playoff contender.

Getting Bergenheim to match his playoff pace certainly wouldn’t hurt the cause.

Latest Posts
  1. Looking to make the leap: Mike Reilly

    Aug 30, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    2015 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional

    He’s hoping to crack the Wild’s opening night roster after three seasons at the University of Minnesota.

  2. Under Pressure: Devan Dubnyk

    Aug 30, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    Devan Dubnyk Devan Dubnyk

    He’ll have to prove last season was not a fluke.

  3. Report: Ballard, Leopold leaning towards retirement

    Aug 30, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Keith Ballard Keith Ballard

    Both blue liners are unrestricted free agents.

  4. Wild ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Zach Parise Getty Images

    Can they take a step forward this season?

  5. Glencross regrets taking hometown discount

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Curtis Glencross Getty Images

    He’s currently an unrestricted free agent.

  6. Under Pressure: Brandon Saad

    Aug 29, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Brandon Saad Getty Images

    Columbus bet heavily on him this summer.

  7. Poll: Will Columbus win its first playoff series?

    Aug 29, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Ryan Johansen Getty Images

    Just making the postseason would be seen as a good season, but perhaps the Blue Jackets are in position to do more.

  8. Looking to make the leap: Sonny Milano

    Aug 29, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    Sonny Milano Getty Images

    This will be his first full season as a pro.

  9. Tributes pour in for Al Arbour

    Aug 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Getty Images

    “We did lose a great man.”

  10. Blue Jackets ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Scott Hartnell Getty Images

    The Blue Jackets have to hope for better health this season.

  11. It’s Columbus Blue Jackets day at PHT

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Ryan Johansen AP

    Looking to bounce back after an injury-ravaged campaign.

  12. Calder runner-up Stone says injured wrist is ‘100 percent’

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    150829_MarkStone Getty Images

    You know, the one injured on “that” slash from P.K. Subban.

  13. Pens sign prospect Sprong to entry-level deal

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    2015 NHL Draft - Portraits 2015 NHL Draft - Portraits

    The club’s top pick at this year’s draft.

  14. Kings bringing veteran goalie Budaj to camp on PTO

    Aug 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    Peter Budaj Peter Budaj

    Former Avs and Habs goalie spent all of last year in the AHL.

  15. Detroit adds analytics specialist to front office

    Aug 28, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

    Yet another NHL club hiring a fancy stats guy.

  16. Stars re-sign Eakin: four years, $15.4 million

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars

    Scored a career-high 19 goals and 40 points last year.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1866)
  2. P. Kane (1387)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1221)
  4. S. Matthias (1167)
  5. M. Giordano (1072)