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Grading the Islanders: Sean Bergenheim

The second in a series, which shows up -- like Peter Gibbons -- sort of whenever it wants to. If you missed it, issue your grade for Josh Bailey before you do this one. You probably want to read the brief recap of Bergenheim's season (after the jump) before casting your vote.

Sean Bergenheim

#20 / Left Wing / New York Islanders



Feb 08, 1984

4* *Twice split, once banished, to Euro duty

2nd and final year of $863k cap hit. RFA in 2010.

Tell me, please, this is his breakout year.

2008-09 - Sean Bergenheim 59 15 9 24 -2 64 0 4 5 14:14 152 9.9

Random Fact: Bergenheim led the team in short-handed goals with four, and anyone who watched every game will tell you he could have had eight. At 1:55/game, he was the Isles' fourth most-used forward on the PK.

"This is our concern, Dude" Fact: Two of them. 1) He still takes bad penalties (albeit decreasingly so). 2) To Stan Fischler, to the bloggers, to anyone who asked, Bergenheim professed a feeling of being underused by Scott Gordon. But by season's end, they appeared to find a happy balance.

The Story: On the surface, the Sean Bergenheim of summer 2009 is the same Sean Bergenheim of every summer since 2005: "We saw some flashes there. You think next year he'll be the beast we were hoping for?" Except this past season, despite disagreement and a feeling out process with Scott Gordon regarding his role, "Bergey" (or is it "Bergie"?) may have turned a corner. Like all the youngsters, his ice time started to increase in the second half and he started to feel his place. Like all Islanders in 2008-09, his year was jammed up by injuries.

The Good: A career high in goals and points in just 59 games (his NHL career still spans just 183 games). An increasingly effective penalty killer. The same old hit-everything, never-stop Bergenheim energy we've come to expect. And late in the season, displays of speed and improved finishing that tell us maybe, just maybe, the 2002 first-round pick will be what we hoped for. If healthy and at his second-half rate, he's a 20-25 goal scorer.

The Bad: As noted, the Bad-Penalty Sean still surfaced from time to time. Now 25, he still has that independent streak that landed him the year's exile bouncing around Europe. And it's taken him a while to get to this point, yet he was a streaky scorer. But he is still the lovable pinball with hands, and he wants to make it work as an Islander. Will he get the ice time he wants?

The Poem:

From check to check like a pinball
Deking Devils, toppling Staal
A legit goal scorer?
And penalty killer?
Is this the real Bergey after all?

The Grade: As with Bailey (and others to follow), let's come up with a grade by committee. Same rules apply: You know what Bergenheim did this season. Please vote on his year relative to your expectations of him before the year started, with 5 the absolute best and 1 the worst. Maybe you're thrilled because the hat trick against the Devils makes you think he's turning the corner. Maybe you're disappointed because you expected more by now even with the groin injury, etc. If there is nuance to your vote, or you just feel like explaining yourself ... you know what to do in comments. We'll tally them up and average it out for his final grade.