|Steve Bernier enters his first year with the Panthers after being acquired on June 25, 2010 from Vancouver. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward) |
We kick off our countdown by taking a closer look at new acquisition Steve Bernier in our Top 10 Players To Watch this season.
Acquired in a trade from Vancouver along with forward Michael Grabner and the Canucks first round pick (used to select Quinton Howden
) for Keith Ballard and Victor Oreskovich, Bernier is a big body (listed at 6'2 and 216 lbs) who has some skill to help the Panthers offensively this season.
"The way I like to play, I like to forecheck," said Bernier. "I like to create space for my team. I like to be in front of the net. That's where I score all my goals usually."
Having that presence in front of the net is something that the Panthers have been missing over the past couple of seasons and it's something, that if he plays his game consistently, the 25 year old can provide.
A former first round pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (16th overall), the Quebec City, Quebec native has recorded 144 points in 317 games with San Jose, Buffalo and Vancouver during his five years in the NHL.
Playing for his fourth team in such a short amount of time, Bernier admits that changing teams is tough, but he's just ready to do his job this season.
"It's hard," said Bernier of the moving around after being traded. "I'm trying my best to just play my game on the ice. That's all I can do. That's all I control. That's the way I play on the ice."
While new, Bernier can make a good impression with his teammates, his coaches and the fans by helping provide that offense this upcoming season and that’s why he’s a player to watch.
“Obviously I want to prove that I'm able to play as much as possible on the ice,” said Bernier. “I want to be on the ice. I want to help this team as much as possible so my goal is to become better and better and gain the trust of my teammates and everyone else from the Panthers.”BY THE NUMBERS5 -
Years of experience that Bernier has racked up.15 -
Most goals scored in a single season, accomplished twice, first during the 2005-06 season while playing for San Jose and matched during the 2008-09 season with Vancouver.16 -
Selected in the first round, with the 16th pick of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft from the Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL).17 -
Most assists in a single season. Recorded while playing with Vancouver during the 2008-09 season.25 -
Born March 31, 1985, Bernier's age at the start of the season.26 -
After skating as number 18 with Vancouver, Bernier will go back to the number he started his career with while playing for San Jose. 81 -
Most games played in a season for Bernier, a feat in which he accomplished during the 2008-09 season with the Canucks.