As the off-season rolls on, I'll try to answer some of your questions in a rolling newsletter here on the blog.
Q: I see that Marc-Andre Bergeron will be a free agent on July 1. His salary is $750,000 now and he has played well for Montreal. Do you think he would be a good fit for the Stars at age 29?
Thanks, Dick C.
HEIKA: The problem with Bergeron is he is a very solid power play performer, but not a great all around defenseman.
That's the reason he is on his fifth team in the past four seasons and the reason he was available for Montreal to sign as a free agent in October on a one-year contract worth $750,000. Of course, that also does make him a potential bargain when free agency begins.
The Canadiens are using Bergeron as a seventh defenseman (in an 11-7 format) and power play specialist. He also plays some wing. I'm not sure the Stars could afford to use him in that manner. Brad Richards is the quarterback of the power play. He's a left-handed shot and he was pretty good this season. He was second in the NHL in power play points (40), and the Stars finished 12th in power play success (18.6 percent) and eighth in power play goals (61). Bergeron is also a left-handed shot and would either have to play with Richards or would have to run the second unit.
Could that work? Maybe. But my guess is the Stars are interested in still finding out if Matt Niskanen or Philip Larsen (who are both right-handed) could fill that role. Niskanen was not able to embrace that opportunity last season and Larsen might be too young right now, but the Stars would then probably let Stephane Robidas or Trevor Daley get that time.
Plus, there is always the issue of ``Defenseman X.'' If the Stars are going to get serious about winning, they need to find a top-level, puck-moving defenseman who can hopefully log 23-25 minutes a game (Defenseman X). If they get that player, then he is going to jump right up to the top power play unit (at least that's what you would guess) and that would make Bergeron pretty much redundant.
So, the best chance to sign Bergeron would probably be late in the summer if you think you can fit him in as a seventh defenseman hybrid. By that time, the Canadiens might have decided to keep him.
We'll see. It's good thinking, but Bergeron is a 5-10, left-handed defenseman who skates well and shoots the puck hard, and I think the Stars would like to find someone bigger, possibly right-handed, and definitely more complete.