32-Year-Old Right Wing – New York Islanders
Steve Bernier Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Islanders in June of 2017.
Bernier will make his first NHL appearance since the 2015-16 campaign Saturday evening against the Kings.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
The 31-year-old journeyman lasted just one season and 24 games on Long Island, and over the years the former first-round pick has become a big-bodied depth player with diminishing offensive abilities. In 2015-16, Bernier scored just one goal in 30 total games with the Islanders after scoring 16 in 67 games the previous season, and will likely have to wait for roster spots to open up over the course of the season before latching onto a team.
Bernier established himself as one of the Devils' top checking forwards, notching 15 points in 47 contests. Along with linemates Stephen Gionta and Ryan Carter, he regularly skated against some of the opposition's top lines and likely will fill a similar role this season. His offensive upside is limited because he receives little power play ice time.
Bernier joined the Devils last fall on a tryout basis, but signed with the big club after the All-Star break where he proceeded to grab a goal and five assists in 32 games. However, Bernier is more remembered for the illegal hit he laid on Los Angelesí Rob Scuderi in Game 6 of the Finals back in June than for what he did on the ice. Bernier will be a checking center that wonít contribute too much offensively.
Bernier totaled five goals and 10 assists in 68 games played for the Panthers this past season and is currently a free agent looking for work. Bernier has seen his point totals decline in each of the last two seasons after posting three straight 30-point seasons. The former first-round pick is still only 26 years old and has the size and skill set to be a top-nine forward in the NHL. That being said, Bernier has value as a deep sleeper pick, assuming he can finally put it all together.
Formerly with the Canucks, Bernier is coming off his worst statistical season in which he put up just 11 goals and assists apiece. Of course, he was limited to 59 games with groin and hernia issues. The silver lining with Bernier is that Florida needs his services more than Vancouver ever did in his two seasons north of the States. As a result, Bernier could be a serviceable low-end fantasy option this season - health permitting, of course.
The 2008-09 campaign was a disappointment for Bernier. He entered the season poised for a breakout after being paired with the Sedin twins on the Canucks' top line, but was unable to take advantage of the opportunity. At 24, Bernier still has some upside, and with improvements on his strength and conditioning over the offseason, he could surpass last year's 32-point effort.
Bernier was one of the big offseason acquisitions by the Canucks. Acquired from Buffalo for a third-round pick in 2009 and a second-round selection in 2010, Bernier will figure into the Canucks top-six rotation, as well a nice right-handed shot on the power-play unit. At 6-2, 225, Bernier is a physical presence who will plant himself in front of the net. The Canucks will be looking for him to contribute more on the offensive end than his previous teams needed. Look for Bernier to be a solid point producer in his first season with Vancouver.
Even before Bernier was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the 1st round of the 2003 draft, he faced adversity. The hockey world said he was too big and didnít have the motivation to get into shape and would never live up to his potential in the NHL. In the 2005-06 splitting time with the Cleveland Barons and the San Jose Sharks he appeared to prove all doubters wrong, by posting 70 points (34 goals and 36 assists) in 88 games played. This past season Bernier started off well, than became the player the critics suspected, and was sent down to Worchester Sharks in January. In Worchester he broke his foot and was out for a month. In February he rejoined the Sharks and finished with 31 points (15 goals and 16 assists) in 62 games playing for the big club. Bernier faces adversity again this season as he is a restricted free agent at the end of this year. One of seven Sharks, and with only 11 million in cap space available (and not to mention the kids in the farm system who are knocking on the big clubsí door) he is fighting for a roster spot for next season.
Hereís a kid whoís actually a better player in real life than he is a fantasy prospect, but donít worry, Bernier should score enough to have fantasy relevance. He put up 27 points in 39 games last year as a 21-year-old, in-between hitting everything that moved (and a few things that didnít). A first round pick from 2003 (16th overall), Bernier could be one of the best power forwards in the league over the next decade .
The former first-round pick has a shot to open the year with the club, and perhaps on one of the top three lines. Bernier had 35 goals in 68 games last season for Moncton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.