Today's NYI Fan Central Final review is on Islanders forward Sean Bergenheim.
Sean Bergenheim came into this year a player removed from a year long holdout who had to win over a new coach who had never seen him play and once again adjust to the North American game which was asking a lot.
You could see from the early games paired with Vasicek and Satan a player who jumped into the holes, could make a play with his speed and still had the hockey sense where you watch him do a lot of things to help a club win a game that I saw in Bridgeport and his previous callups to the club.
One of the things he did not do often enough (especially early) was control his aggression which led to some penalties which Ted Nolan praised at times but also was frustrated about on occasion which saw a few demotions.
Offensively, he had a nice stretch in January with a few big goals, including one late in Minnesota and displayed a nice knack of raising his game against the Rangers with a few goals. He again showed the knock on his game since his draft which was his ability to finish but many nights was the most visible Islander among the forwards with his hard work, skating in all three zones and finished ahead of the veterans he was paired with far too many nights. He did not receive a real chance on the powerplay.
After a holdout two years ago, Bergenheim is a restricted free agent so this bears more attention than usual. He obviously won over Ted Nolan with his hard work but will that translate into a long-term contract which the Isles should be looking to do here?
Bergenheim's offensive game needs more seasoning, he needs some more speed and skill around him but it's painfully obvious Bergenheim is a very good young talent who is only getting better and part of the long-term answer for this organization.
I wonder what his offensive numbers would have been if the veterans did not hold him back many nights? To me, he was the hardest working player on this roster with Blake Comeau and despite some over-aggressive penalties and better finishing skills, Bergenheim receives an A with a very bright future in front of him.