Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bergeron comes aboard

RDS and several others are reporting that Marc-André Bergeron has signed a $750,000 contract with the Habs.

When his name first arose following the injury to Andrei Markov, I figured that Yannick Weber should at least get a chance to show what he can do before the team looks for other solutions. Apparently, the Canadiens didn't want to take that risk of losing Bergeron to another club.

Bergeron will be headed to Hamilton for a conditioning stint, so at least Weber has a bit of time to prove his worthiness.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a good signing because it comes cheap and the Habs can easily slide this contract under the cap without needing to invoke either the bonus cushion or Long-Term Injury Relief on Markov.

The 5-foot-9, 198-pound Bergeron played on the Minnesota Wild's first wave last season for the league's ninth-ranked power play and scored seven of his 14 goals with the man advantage. He's known to have a hard, accurate shot from the point and he can skate with the puck.

Bergeron wasn't simply a hired gun in Minnesota last year as he also received over 13 minutes of ice time per game at even strength, and when you play for Jacques Lemaire you'd better be able to play without the puck if you want to see the ice at 5-on-5. Another benefit is that Bergeron has decent speed, which is an asset on a defence corps where speed is not a strong suit. But he is yet another left-handed shot on a blueline full of them.

Frankly, I hope the Canadiens never really need Bergeron and that Weber proves he's able to do the job on a regular basis for at least the next two months, which is the latest timeline on Ryan O'Byrne's knee injury. That would be the best possible outcome for the organization because it would allow a good, young prospect to gain some valuable NHL experience.

But if Weber should falter, it is good to have Bergeron around because the next option would be Mathieu Carle or P.K. Subban, and I'm not sure the organization feels comfortable with that idea.

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