One Team's Trash...

Editor's Note: nhlcheapshot is taking the "Who Will The Leafs Sign" in a different direction and makes a compelling case to want Burke to roll the UFA dice on a much maligned forward once again.

Saw this tweet today:

Dale Tallon just told me that he won't make an offer to Steve Bernier. He's now UFA.

Now, I didn't know a lot about Steve Bernier beyond that he was included in the Keith Ballard trade along with Michael Grabner and a 1st round pick.

His stats are not mindblowing:

Season Age Tm Lg GP G A PTS +/- PIM S% ATOI
2005-06 20 SJS NHL 39 14 13 27 4 35 18.7 14:08
2006-07 21 SJS NHL 62 15 16 31 5 29 14.4 13:35
2007-08 22 TOT NHL 76 16 16 32 -1 64 12.2 13:20
2008-09 23 VAN NHL 81 15 17 32 4 27 10.9 13:50
2009-10 24 VAN NHL 59 11 11 22 0 21 11.6 14:10
2010-11 25 FLA NHL 68 5 10 15 -14 21 5.2 13:02
Career NHL 385 76 83 159 -2 197 11.9 13:38

But after a closer look, the situation reminded me of another RFA who was allowed to become UFA....

Now I may be wrong, but looking at those first few years, he had pretty decent production for his age/ice time. Putting up around 15G/year with around 13.5 minutes of ice time, he carved himself a role where he was productive but never had to be the go-to point-producer.

Bernier was drafted 16th overall in the infamous 2003 NHL entry draft, 1 spot before Zach Parise. Since his trade to Florida, his production has fallen off a cliff - 5G, 15 points last year making $2,000,000. Not good. However, he was shooting at 5.2% (Career 11.9%) and had a PDO of 969. Additionally, he wasn't the only one who didn't blossom under Florida's system.

So is Bernier a bust? Or, barring a different set of circumstances, could he have had a breakout year? This is the tale of two players - Clarke MacArthur and Steve Bernier. All MacArthur needed was better linemates, more icetime and increased responsibility to prove he could produce as a Top 6 forward. Bernier may just need to be given the opportunity to do the same.

Let's take a look at some stats comparing the two by Age: Goals/60 minutes of ice time, Points/60 minutes of ice time, Average TOI, and Shooting %:

Now, the situations aren't identical. MacArthur wasn't even available until after his arbitration in August, after many teams had already completed the majority of their offseason shopping. He took a very low salary in what many of us considered a "meh" move for a 3rd liner.

In this situation, Bernier is available while all the teams still have all their money, and an extreme discount might be out of the question - but he's not exactly a premier UFA which would require overpayment either.

So, what say you - is Steve Bernier the type of player the Leafs should "buy low" on?

All stats from is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of