NHL Trade Deadline: Bergeron and Clowe – Not Big Names But Possibly A Big Fantasy Impact

Two names that aren’t future hall-of-famers that found a new home before the NHL trade deadline are Marc-André Bergeron and Ryane Clowe. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to go over these one at a time.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron
Former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Marc Andre Bergeron handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center Charles LeClaire USA TODAY Sports

Marc-André Bergeron

Adam Hall goes back to Tampa Bay for the second time in his career (and season) along with a seventh round pick in exchange for puck-moving defenseman Marc-André Bergeron.

Bergeron has always been an interesting case in the NHL. When healthy, he’s proven to be a productive defenseman. In the last two seasons that he’s played at least 40 games, he’s put up a point/game pace that would give him around 46 points in a full season. His problem is that he doesn’t play full seasons. Injuries have kept him from playing 80+ games in any season over the last decade. In fact, he’s played more than 60 games just once over the last six years.

One thing I found interesting is that despite every defenseman who has played for Tampa Bay this year having a negative On-Ice Corsi except Radko Gudas (who may be pretty good, it seems), Bergeron managed to escape with a +3 rating. For a defenseman who usually will be on the ice for more goals against while at even strength, this is a positive sign.

Fantasy Impact

This could be a huge fantasy impact for the stretch run. With Joni Pitkanen  now likely out for the rest of the season because of this insane icing race and Justin Faulk already on the IR, the Hurricanes were going to need help on the back-end if they have any hopes of making the playoffs. Enter Bergeron.

In his last 56 games played, Bergeron has 12 power-play points. To put that into perspective, both Drew Doughty (77 games) and Duncan Keith (74 games) had just 13 power-play points last season. In fact, in his first game in a Carolina Hurricanes uniform last night, Bergeron assisted on a first period power-play goal.

The fact that his ownership rates are insanely low (0.3% ESPN, 2% Yahoo!) provide an opportunity for some of you out there. Bergeron was largely under-utilized in Tampa Bay because of their depth on the point. There is no such depth in Carolina. Case in point: Bergeron played more than 15 minutes just three time in 12 games with the Lightning while he never had more than 18:16 in any one game. His first game with Carolina? He had 21:31 in total ice-time.

If you’re making a push for playoffs and need a point producing defenseman, Bergeron is as good as it’s going to get on the waiver wire.

San Jose Sharks left wing Ryane Clowe
Former San Jose Sharks left wing Ryane Clowe sets for the face off against the Dallas Stars during the game at the American Airlines Center Jerome Miron USA TODAY Sports

Ryane Clowe

Clowe was traded to the New York Rangers for a second and third round pick this year plus a conditional second round pick next year. If the Rangers make it to the Eastern Conference Finals or if Clowe re-signs with the Rangers, the Sharks receive that conditional second round pick.

The anecdotes are plentiful.. “How many goals does Ryane Clowe have? Less than Scott Gomez”. And then we all laugh.

Obviously, with zero goals so far this year, it hasn’t been an ideal start for Ryane Clowe. I hate to burst the bubble of you Negative Nancies, but there are several anomalies about this:

–        Clowe is shooting at a rate (2.32 shots/game) that is higher than his career rate of 2.15

–        Clowe is a career 11.1% shooter and shot over 10% in each of his first five full seasons. He failed last year at 9.4%.

–        Despite having zero goals, San Jose’s shooting percentage when he is on the ice is 6.95%, sixth-highest among Sharks forwards and higher than Patrick Marleau (6.18%).

–        His offensive zone start% is 50.8% and his offensive zone finish% is 53.6%. He had just the eighth-highest Off ZoneST% among San Jose forwards but managed the second-highest Off ZoneFN%. While the natural flow of hockey games would predict this would happen, he does it at a rate greater than both Logan Couture and Joe Thornton.

I can imagine the laughs people were having about a player with zero goals going to a team that is struggling to score. In reality, considering he has zero goals, Clowe has done pretty well for himself this year.

Fantasy Impact

The thing about Rangers coach John Tortorella is that he’s not shy of shaking up his lines. In the last three games, no one line has played more than 15% of the total even-strength ice-time, so at some point you would have to think Clowe gets some top six minutes.

Because of penalty minutes alone (he has the most points of any forward with at least 70 PIMs this season), he should be owned on most fantasy teams (43% on ESPN, 37% on Yahoo!). He will see some top six minutes (though I doubt it will be much because of the afore-mentioned Tortorella) and may even see some sparse power-play time. But keep this in mind: The New York Rangers have 13 games left. If Clowe is to achieve a rate of half his career shooting percentage of 11.1%, at the rate he’s currently shooting the puck, he could score five goals by the end of the season. Players that are 30 years old or younger with a 400+ games played track record don’t just completely fall off the map like this. Even Scott Gomez had a 12 goal season in his age 30 year.

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