Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A New Home for Bergie

I had a sick feeling Sean Bergenheim would not be returning to the Islanders the last time I spoke with him in April. I could tell by the way head coach Scott Gordon had talked about him in the post game interviews that as much as the 1st round draft pick was considered "home grown," there were issues.

In 2005 Bergenheim had expressed to me a feeling that he was not appreciated as much as he would have liked. I agreed with him. However, what he may have been feeling about how he was used on the Coliseum ice, I was talking about how he was promoted.

Sean Bergenheim was drafted 22nd overall in 2002, yet he was never really marketed as that coveted "first round draft pick" in ads or merchandising. I can't tell you how many times I had a conversation with the merchandise department asking "Uh, where are the Bergenheim T-shirts?"

He was a fan favorite in Bridgeport and put up some decent numbers there, posting 25 goals and 22 assists for the Sound Tigers in 2005 - 2006. That year he also played 28 games with the Islanders posting 4 goals and 5 assists. Sean also represented his country at many international tournaments.

However the performance of 2005-2006 wasn't enough for the Islanders to give Bergenheim and his agent the contract they were looking for and when an impasse in negotiations arose, he left for Russia. He played only nine games with Lokomotiv before he found a way to break his contract and move on to the Swedish Elite League where he played 36 games for Frolunda HC. In 36 games he earned 16 goals and 17 assists.

A change in representation, and a little humility, earned him a new contract with the Islanders beginning with the 2006-2007 season. In 78 games he scored 10 goals and 12 assists for a total of only 22 points. And then there were the injuries: shoulder, groin, ribs, that kept him out of the line up. It came as no surprise that he was not offered a QA this season after making $925,000 and scoring only ten goals this past season.

There is talent in Sean Bergenheim that needs to be polished. I believe he can be a 20 goal scorer. I have always believed that. Maybe in Tampa, it will actually happen. Good Luck Sean. Glad you found another NHL home.


Travelchic59 said...

I am also sad to see Sean go. He was one of my favorites. And I never understood why he was marketed so poorly by the team. But I really think his fate was sealed when he played that year overseas. I wish him the best of luck but also hope he doesn't become another in a long list of ex-Islanders that go on to be a star with another team.

aj rosenbaum said...

while i don't necessarily agree with the lack of marketing contention, as i never did see as much TO market from bergy as i'd hoped for, i also am a little sad to see him go. i didn't expect him to be a huge scorer in the nhl, but i did think he was good for 20 or so a year, and with the rest of his hard-charging, bowling-ball style that could induce mistakes by the opposition, that would have made him a solid and integral long term contributor. injuries hurt him a lot and he never did blossom here. not seeing bergy realize what i thought was his full potential as an islander is very disappointing.