Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Berard to Tryout

There are reports out of Canada that Bryan Berard has accepted an invitation to Islanders camp to win a job through an open tryout. With a handful of notable names around the league still unsigned, I would expect to hear about more cases of this happening with other teams. But for this team and this particular player, I really don't understand the motivation.

The only logic that makes any sense is that his veteran presence will provide good motivation for the young guys (Gervais and Campoli) to step up during camp. It always helps to have someone ready to earn your spot to provide that extra little spark. Beyond that, the benefits are unclear.

Taking for granted that Witt, Sutton, Bergeron and Martinek have already earned spots (and that Nolan will not keep more than 6 D-men on the team) we now have 4 guys - Gervais, Campoli, Meyer, and Berard - competing for two spots. I've mentioned in previous posts that I don't see Meyer being more than a depth defenseman waiting in the wings in Bridgeport. Given Martinek's penchant for injury and Witt/Sutton's aggressive natures, depth is something this team needs and likely will rely on at some point during the year. So that leaves three players for two spots, and I'm assuming Berard wouldn't accept a contract if he was going to be in the minors.

So that leaves the question - who's the best duo for the team? And if Berard makes the team, will the development of the player sent down be hindered in the minors? To me the answer is simple - we've seen enough from Gervais and Campoli to justify their continued development at the NHL level. Campoli had a rock-solid rookie year, and I believe that a contributing factor to his slow start last year was a lack of confidence. Remember, going into the year he was a lock for a starting job. Then he got hurt, and when he was ready to rejoin the team they kept him in the minors for quite some time, until a spot opened for him. Gervais is a guy that I think improved little-by-little over the course of last season, and was one of our better defenseman during our brief playoff run. Both guys are young and have a lot of upside. Despite my highest hopes for the team this year, we're not favorites for the Cup right now. Let's continue to let these guys develop and see if they can become fixtures on our blue line for many years to come.

The alternative to is to give a spot to a guy that has one bad eye and two back surgeries on his resume. Over the least three seasons, he's only been healthy enough to play in 113 games. And over that period he offers a plus/minus of -57. For a stat like that, I would have preferred to pay for Souray and gotten all of his offensive upside. This team already has too many "spare parts" in their roster of forwards, no need to muddy things with one more on the defensive end.


Anonymous said...

I agree that im not too sure what the story is on Berard. The guy hasnt played much the past few seasons and as you said has a bad eye. Hes a good d-man but Im not sure hes a good fit for the Isles. I would rather see what Campoli and Gervais can do this year then what Berard can do.

thedope said...

Hard to believe that if he didn't fit into the Blue Jackets plans during the end of the season last year that he'll be a great addition anywhere else.

Mike Carey said...

I was talking to a fellow fan yesterday and he thinks Berard would be willing to play with the Sound Tigers if he doesn't make the team. If that's the case I'd welcome him with open arms. Nice veteran depth would be great. But I just can't imagine that. Otherwise, one injury-prone Dman (Martinek) is enough.

Anonymous said...

I would love it if he played for Bridgeport. It would be good for the younger d-man to have that kind of presence. But your right we have way too many d-man. When Martinek gets injured this season I would rather see what Spiller, Johnson, or Kohn can do.

Anonymous said...

I would be very surprised if Berard makes the team. I see this as to way to motivate Campoli and Gervais during training camp. Don't let them coast by thinking they have roster spots sured up. Berard can use this exposure to get other teams interests.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see the disaster that is the 2007-2008 Icelanders this year. Congrats on your 25th aniv without a cup.

The asslander fans will not see a cup until 2038 at the earliest. Karma is a bitch.