Bergeron was traded at the deadline for the second straight year.
By Matt Vevoda AnaheimDucks.com When the trade deadline came and went Tuesday, Marc-Andre Bergeron and his wife Isabelle assumed the defenseman was staying put with the New York Islanders.
“I thought everything was over with,” Bergeron said on Wednesday, ironically after a Ducks practice at Anaheim Ice. “My wife said ‘Alright, I guess no luggage this year.’ And then the phone rang.”
At about 10 past the hour Bergeron did in fact get the call, notifying the four-year veteran that he had in fact been traded for the second consecutive season. Shocking to Bergeron was where he was being sent.
While the Islanders picked up Bergeron from Edmonton nine days before the deadline last year, it was the already defenseman-heavy Ducks acquiring his services with minutes to spare this year.
I was even more surprised to have the chance to come to Anaheim,” Bergeron said. “Being a defenseman, you look at the lineup here and you don’t think they would need one. At the same time, I’m fortunate they decided to bring me in. One thing for sure is I’m going to give it all to help these guys get a second Cup in a row.”
With an immense group already intact, the Ducks sought depth for their blueline and achieved it in dealing a 2008 third round NHL Entry Draft pick for Bergeron.
Fully aware of the depth at the position, Bergeron knows it is going to be a constant battle for playing time.
“When there is a lineup like this, there’s no doubt you have to be good to be in the lineup,” Bergeron said. “I’ve had to do that in the past and I’ve answered well. I’m expecting myself to help this team.”
At 5-foot-11, 197 pounds, Bergeron comes to a defensive unit where he is the smallest in stature, which Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle quickly said is a non-issue.
“I don’t think Mathieu Schneider is a jolly green giant or Scott Niedermayer is either,” Carlyle said. “I think we utilize people to their strengths.”
Showing a knack for scoring with the Oilers and Islanders in his career, Bergeron has proved an effective weapon on the offensive end. In just 46 games played this season, Bergeron has tallied eight power play goals, which is tied for a league-high among defensemen.
“He’s got a big-time shot,” said Carlyle in analyzing Bergeron’s game. “He’s a good passer, a puck-moving defenseman and a competitive hockey player. We felt those were assets to give us support in our position.”
“Being a defenseman, you look at the lineup here and you don’t think they would need one," Bergeron said. "At the same time, I’m fortunate they decided to bring me in. One thing for sure is I’m going to give it all to help these guys get a second Cup in a row.”
Added Bergeron: “My upside is obviously more my offense. I’ve got a pretty good shot. It’s probably my biggest asset. Passing the puck around and skating, it’s pretty basic, but it’s effective, I would say.”
In his new locker room, Bergeron has some familiar faces from previous stops in his career. He has played with Francois Beauchemin in Hamilton of the AHL and with both Todd Marchant and Chris Pronger on the Oilers. Also being a Trois-Rivieres, Quebec native, he’s quite familiar with J.S. Giguere, who is from Montreal, Quebec.
With Pronger as his defensive partner for much of the 2005-06 season, Bergeron and the Oilers made a deep playoff run, where they would eventually vanquish the Ducks in the Western Conference Final.
“I remember that playoff series that we played, it was really tough,” Bergeron said. “Since then, the Ducks kept that same intensity. They just got better and a little older. It’s a really deep team with a lot of skills and a lot of grit. It’s an excellent recipe for victory.”
After that ‘05-06 Oilers team ousted the Ducks in seven grueling games, they would eventually drop Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final to Carolina and Doug Weight.
Now a teammate of Bergeron’s with the Ducks, Weight returned to practice on Wednesday in his comeback from an injured shoulder that’s kept him out of the lineup since Feb. 8.
Considered probable for Friday against Calgary along with Marchant, who has also been out with an injured shoulder, Weight said he wants the injury to fully heal before returning to the lineup.
“I was pretty excited to be out there with the boys," said Weight of his first practice since going on the injured list. "I shot the puck well. I didn’t feel any ill effects. I didn’t do any battle drills, but it felt good.”
“Whether it’s Friday, Monday, Wednesday, I want to go in and feel 100 percent,” Weight said. “Out there today, I felt nothing. I was pretty excited to be out there with the boys. I shot the puck well. I didn’t feel any ill effects. I didn’t do any battle drills, but it felt good.”
Mentioned by Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Burke as one of the reasons he did not make a bigger trade on Tuesday, Weight said he was thankful for the challenge.
“There’s nothing more encouraging,” Weight said. “He’s the type of guy and this organization is the type of organization that you just want to produce and play hard for. You want to show them what you’re all about and back that up. No matter what was turned down or offered or anything else, we are what we are now. Opportunity knocks and you got be prepared”
Carlyle was also pleased there were no major subtractions to the group while adding Bergeron.
“These players have earned the right to continue to be together because of their work ethic and they’ve been getting the job done,” Carlyle said. “We’ve played seven playoff rounds out of a possible eight in the last two years. So that does say something about the players we have. The last 16 games here, they’ll be a lot of pressure on the hockey club to continue to have success because of how competitive the Western Conference and Pacific Division are.”