Thread: Injury Report: Bernier out 4-6 weeks
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03-12-2010, 08:53 AM
R0bert0 Lu0ng0
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Originally Posted by Lard_Lad View Post
I agree that his strength and physical play is useful. The problem is, I don't think we have the team to take advantage of it properly. Bernier looks best when he's along the boards, digging the puck out and feeding it to somebody else. But we don't have many guys who can sit in front of the net effectively, so he gets stuck doing that. And he just doesn't have the hands for it. I think his awful PP numbers (he actually gets fewer points per minute 5-on-4 than 5-on-5) bear that out, because he's pretty much always in front of the net in that situation, where with 5-on-5 he's on the wing and in the corners a lot more.
Interesting point - I think he has improved in the role of a big guy who screens and tips pucks this year and he reportedly spent time working on getting off shots in close quarters, but there's pretty much no way he'll develop the scoring touch in close of a guy like Holmstrom.

So where to put him so he plays his best? Burrows, Samuelsson, and Grabner fit better with the Sedins and/or Kesler-Raymond, both in theory and from what we've seen in actual play. Third line, then - but none of the other guys we have for that line now and in the near future are really what Bernier needs: a big body that can park in front so he doesn't have to.
Well when you add in Raymond you're talking about four wingers with three available top six spots. So Bernier should be able to play on the third with at least one linemate who is able to put the puck in the net.

I think a good option (for next year at least) would be something like Bernier and Grabner, centered by - Hodgson, Wellwood, whoever. As you mentioned Bernier does a lot of his best work digging out the puck along the boards and from what we've seen Grabner does a great job of finding open areas and getting off quick, dangerous shots. Bernier may not be the best gargbage man in the league but he sure is willing to follow the play to the net.

So Bernier is going to continue in a less-than-optimal role if he sticks around here, and he's a little expensive for the kind of production that results from that. We're probably better off moving him - and he may well see a jump in his production if he winds up on a team that can use him better - and replacing him with someone who's cheaper or at least can finish effectively from the slot.
I dunno. When I think about this scenario I think about who we might get to replace Bernier - the only options that are as physical and cheaper and that we can actually acquire have literally 0 hope to be productive offensive players.. and making the trade off for a guy who is as productive but less physical leaves the Canucks with one of the softest top nines in the league (if we're not there already).

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