Bergfors biggest signing on slow day
|Niclas Bergfors skates during the warmup before facing the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Que., Jan. 2, 2011. (JOCELYN MALETTE/QMI Agency)
The Florida Panthers didn't think enough of Niclas Bergfors to even tender him a qualifying offer.
But the Nashville Predators clearly had a different opinion of the former first-round draft pick, signing 24-year-old Bergfors to a one-year, $575,000 deal Sunday.
While the rest of the league basically took the day off to collect its breath, the Predators kept busy by signing Bergfors and completing a four-player trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Preds sent forward Matthew Lombardi and defenceman Cody Franson to the Leafs for blueliner Brett Lebda and borderline prospect Robert Slaney, a forward who played in the ECHL last season.
"This move allows us more certainty with our roster heading into this season," Preds general manager David Poiile said. "Now it's my job to build around the strong core we have in place and when the opportunity presents, I'd like to strike to help make that core even better."
In Bergfors the Preds are getting a player who has skated in 162 NHL games (34 goals, 47 assists) over four seasons and will work cheap. He was named to the 2009-10 NHL all-rookie team and is still young enough to be considered a prospect.
All in all, it was an exceptionally quiet day after the free-agent market opened with a flurry and maintained a torrid pace for two days.
The Oilers signed former L.A. Kings pick Josh Green, a forward who has spent as much time in the minors as the NHL since making the jump from junior in 1997. Green has bounced around but still has 334 games of NHL experience, so if nothing else he gives the Oilers a little depth.
The only other signings involved a pair of career minor leaguers. Big defenceman Boris Valabik signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins and winger Steve Pinizzotto was added by the Vancouver Canucks.