Overcoming Lebda: Nashville signs Niclas Bergfors to one-year deal

Predators GM David Poile was able to keep busy this afternoon. His deal with Toronto earlier today to clear out salary space that sent defenseman Cody Franson and injured forward Matt Lombardi to the Leafs in exchange for disappointing defenseman Brett Lebda and a minor league forward wasn’t all he was up to.

Nashville signed former Devils/Thrashers/Panthers forward Niclas Bergfors to a one year deal worth $575,000. The cheap deal comes as a surprise as Bergfors is a guy with a lot of potential still. Upon breaking out with the Devils and Thrashers two seasons ago, Bergfors combined to score 21 goals and added 23 assists to show that he’s got some offensive skills after going to Atlanta in the Ilya Kovalchuk deal.

Last season in Atlanta and Florida, however, he hit hard times fighting for playing time in Atlanta before being sent to Florida in the Radek Dvorak deal. His combined stats with both teams last season were not too hot as he scored 12 goals and added 24 assists and scored just once for Florida.

In Nashville he’ll get a new start and with a team that should make him feel a bit more at home as the Preds play a more conservative system. Bergfors will get his chances to score on a team that lacks top offensive talent. That kind of opportunity for him may be just what he needs as the Preds will likely be successful again next year. With the price tag being so low, it’s a low-risk signing for Nashville. If he finds his offensive game again, it’s a major win for the Preds. If he doesn’t, the team isn’t crippled by his salary and they can find somewhere else to put him.

Low risk, high reward should be the Predators team slogan as it’s similar to how they took a chance on Sergei Kostitsyn last year. Kostitsyn rewarded the Predators by scoring 23 goals and 27 assists in helping the Predators to the playoffs. If Bergfors can do something remotely close to that, they’ll be ecstatic.

Atlanta acquires Radek Dvorak from Panthers for Niclas Bergfors and Patrick Rissmiller

Much like we discussed last night, Altanta Thrashers GM Rick Dudley made a low-risk, low-reward move that marginally improved his team’s experience and size by trading for Radek Dvorak.

Dudley didn’t want to damage the Thrashers’ future for the present, so unless Niclas Bergfors changes his downward trajectory, moving Bergfors and Patrick Rissmiller won’t harm their long-term outlook. He also had to part with a fifth rounder, though.

Dvorak is a player whose season totals tend to fall in the mid-30s the last few seasons, although he did peak at 67 points way back in the 2000-01 season. Bergfors might actually have a higher (purely offensive) ceiling, as he already has 29 points and is 10 years younger than Dvorak at 23-years-old.

Rissmiller is a marginal player, but one might wonder if parting with him hurt Dudley a bit too, purely because Rissmiller is listed at 6’4″ and 220+ lbs.

This is far from a splashy deal, but that seems to be the M.O. for Dudley, at least during this deadline. As far as winners and losers, I might have to lean slightly toward Panthers GM Dale Tallon, since he turned something into almost nothing.