Perhaps no one’s career has relied more heavily on the special teams aspect of the game of hockey more than Marc-Andre Bergeron … that is, up until this year. Although he has never played a full 82 game season, Bergeron has produced from the point relatively well throughout his career:
= 0.5 points per game (good for an average of 41 points in an 82 game schedule)
Compare that to last year’s Norris Trophy candidate and all-world defenseman Shea Weber who has produced 219 points in 413 career GP, and you see that Bergeron has produced consistently with the best in the game. That being said, Weber does a lot of things that Bergeron simply doesn’t have the frame or mean streak for – hence, I am in no way suggesting that Bergeron is anywhere near the caliber of defenseman that Weber is. Simply put, Bergeron has a special offensive talent, and in a strictly-points Fantasy League he is a forgotten pick-up off of the waiver wire. Especially this season.
Tampa Bay is loving the offensive gifts that Bergeron brings to the table night after night, and he is no longer a noticeable liability in the defensive zone. Through 12 games, Bergeron is tied for the league lead among defenseman with 13 points (Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson also has 13 points). Bergeron has excelled offensively in the past, but what makes this season so unique is that only 4 of the 13 points have come on the man advantage. Moreover, of the 19 minutes of ice time he is averaging with the Lightning this season, only 2:23 are spent on the man advantage. Thus, Bergeron has clearly become more than simply a power play quarterback and has become an offensive force during 5-on-5.
Don’t expect his offensive output to continue at this rate, but if he plays 75+ games this year with the clockwork offensive system in Tampa Bay there is little reason to believe he will not hit 45 to 50 points.
Again, the recommendation to add Bergeron is speaking directly to Fantasy owners involved in strictly points Fantasy leagues. If the leagues involve hits, PIM, blocks then I would only suggest picking him up if your team lacks offensive defensemen.
Predictions: 70-75 GP, 45 to 50 points, 20 PPP, +5 to +10 rating