In a move that might upset fans who are clamoring for more scoring, the Thrashers have traded former 1st round pick Niclas Bergfors, acquired in the Ilya Kovalchuk deal of last year, to Florida for their top forward Radek Dvorak. Bergfors has been in and out of the doghouse multiple times this season for lack of defensive responsibility. He is a -11 on the year, and had been playing wing on the third line as of late. Bergfors has 11 goals and 18 assists for just 29 points on the year.
Dvorak has seven goals and 14 assists on the year for 21 points, but he is also a +2. He’s a bigger body than Bergfors (6’2" vs. 5’11") and would be useful in situations such as the lagging penalty kill. Getting him slows the Thrashers down a bit as well as beefs them up in shorthanded situations.
He is not the player (or players) I would have preferred to get from the Panthers. I have long opined for a decent face off guy on the PK to temporarily replace Jim Slater, as well as a defensively responsible defenseman for the PK – such as Marty Reasoner and Mike Weaver. This move will help the Thrashers where they hurt, but expect to see another move to acquire someone to replace Bergfors’ scoring potential.
[EDIT, 11:09 A.M.] In a quote from the Blueland Blog's Trade Day Tracker, Ben Wright reminds us of this quote from Rick Dudley:
- The Thrashers are four points out of a playoff spot with 19 games left in the season.
- Rick Dudley says he’s committed to building a championship team over the long term and he doesn’t want to sacrifice youth for “a 35-year-old player” as he put it.
- Dudley has said he is looking for top-6 scoring help.
- At times there have been questions about whether the Thrashers have enough veteran leadership. If a veteran forward can be added for a pick and not a top prospect a deal could be made.
Dvorak is a 33-year-old unrestricted free agent. Either Dvorak is going to re-sign here long term and has expressed interest in doing so, or Dudley has just traded with friend Dale Tallon and one of his old clubs a young upcoming scoring forward for someone who, while defensively responsible, is not an elite scorer.