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Numbers Game: Thrashers ship Bergfors to Florida

Scott Cullen
2/28/2011 11:16:27 AM
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The first deal of deadline day saw the Panthers take a player that wasn't fitting in with Atlanta.

Numbers Game look at the Niclas Berfors trade.

The Panthers Get: RW Niclas Bergfors and C Patrick Rissmiller.

Bergfors, who turns 24 in a week, has been in the doghouse for much of this season in Atlanta, scoring 29 points with a minus-11 rating in 52 games.

Averaging just 14:09 of ice time per game, Bergfors has faded in February, scoring two points and going minus-8 while playing a season-low 12:30 per game in 11 games this month. 

Most recently playing in a depth role with Chris Thorburn and either Fredrik Modin or Patrick Rissmiller, it's not like Bergfors was put in a position to produce offensively.

There are naturally accusations that Bergfors is soft -- he's been credited with a grand total of eight hits in 79 games with the Thrashers since coming from New Jersey in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade last season -- so he's not going to be a power forward in Florida, by any stretch, but he's capable of skating and handling the puck and should get an opportunity to play in a scoring role for a Panthers team that is very thin on right wing.

Long-term, it's not unreasonable to think that Bergfors can produce 20 goals and 50 points per season for the Panthers (he had 19 goals, 46 points in 79 games with Thrashers).

Bergfors, who is making $900,000 this year, will be a restricted free agent in the summer.
Rissmiller is a 32-year-old grinder who has been mired in the AHL for the past couple of seasons, scoring 30 points with a minus-5 rating for Lake Erie in the AHL this season.  He can fill a spot on the Panthers' roster if need be, but his $1-million cap hit balances out the finances of the deal and comes off the books at the end of the season.

The Thrashers Get: RW Radek Dvorak and a fifth-round pick.

Dvorak is a 33-year-old reliable veteran who plays a sound third-line checker role.  He's chipped in seven goals and 21 points with a plus-2 rating in 53 games this season, while playing on the Panthers' first penalty-killing unit.

With the Thrashers ranking 28th in the league with a 77.3% penalty killing success rate, Dvorak's shorthanded work will be his greatest benefit to his new team.

Four points out of a playoff spot, the Thrashers need Dvorak in that capacity to help them get into the postseason.

In the final year of his contract, Dvorak's cap hit is $1.7-million this season and he'll be an unrestricted free agent. 

A fifth-round pick doesn't present huge value, but it's a little sweetener since the Panthers are getting more future value in a younger player like Bergfors.

Maybe Bergfors won't pan out, but for the Panthers to get him for a rental seems like a savvy acquisition by Panthers GM Dale Tallon as he gets a deal done with fellow former Blackhawks executive Rick Dudley.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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