I just now got around to seeing Niclas Bergfors was waived, and after watching him for 20 games in Florida, I can't say I'm surprised he he wasn't picked up. It's been a long time coming when you look at his history, which I thought I would share with any of you not familiar with it.
Bergfors was a great player in New Jersey, and when he was packaged in with the Kovalchuk deal, Atlanta thought they had themselves a great pickup. Not 82 games later he was traded along with career AHLer Patrick Rissmiller for Radek Dvorak from the Panthers.
Now here's the story of Radek Dvorak--he rarely scores, he's kinda old but is a great penalty killer and utility guy. Not someone you'd really want to trade a emerging offensive threat for. Yet he was packaged with some nobody AHLer (as if Bergfors wasn't enough to seal the trade) for an aging penalty killer. Weird move if you ask me.
So enter us Florida fans who were able to overlook trading a fan favorite and longtime Panther for what we thought would be a 20 goal scorer. We praised Dale Tallon. Though there were some vague reports of him being in the Atlanta coach's doghouse, we were optimistic for his future. Bergfors saw time on the top line with guys who were scoring 15-20 goals, yet he did nothing. One goal six assists, not terrible on a horrid Panthers team but not exactly what anyone expected. He didn't even look good out there. We still had hope for him though.
This summer Tallon announced they wouldnt resign Bergfors because he had demanded too much money. He sat on the free agent market for a jolly good time before signing a league minimum one year contract with Nashville. 28 teams must not have been interested in a young kid with scoring upside, which seemed suspicious in my book. 11 games in with the Preds and he was waived. Bergfors has been traded twice in two years, released as an RFA and waived.
I think we're looking at a less skilled Alexander Semin kind of player, lots of potential but no work ethic. Locker room disease kind of guy. But there might be some hope yet for him, AHL time. In all his years slowly creeping farther and farther into the doghouse, no one has assigned him to the AHL presumably because the GM feared someone would grab him from waiver-wire. Atlanta and Florida were in no position to lose a talented prospect with offensive upside, nor did they have a coach tough enough to will him into place. Nashville can afford taking a chance, did so and got away with it.
You may see Bergfors again, if pressure is what he needed he finally might have it after being waived for the first time in his career. He might bounce back and learn how to work for a roster spot, if he can't; at least David Poile was wise enough to only sign him for one year. Its been an interesting ride for Bergfors through the NHL, and not the usual one of hard work and perseverance. Bergfors may have slipped into New Jersey based on skill, but as teams demanded character and work ethic he fell off the radar. I wish you guys best of luck with him.