Training camp is fast approaching and teams are making moves to bring in some fresh bodies on professional try out deals. The Islanders came to an agreement with former Devils, Panthers, Sharks and Canucks forward Steve Bernier on a PTO that's both totally innocuous and totally foreboding.
Bernier scored a career high 16 goals for New Jersey last season at the age of 29, which happens all the time and isn't a fluke at all. You may remember him from such hits as his infamous five minute major for boarding in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, on which the Kings scored three goals and sealed up their first championship.
More foreboding than either a funky shooting percentage or occasional bad judgement is the idea, floated by Arthur Staple, that Bernier was possibly signed to fill a Brock Nelson-sized void at forward.
#Isles will bring F Steve Bernier to camp on a PTO. Would think that's insurance in case there's no deal with Brock Nelson.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) September 9, 2015
Bernier wouldn't literally replace Nelson, who's seven years younger and palpably better. But without a contract, Nelson is sliding dangerously close to the Islanders long-standing rule about not negotiating past training camp.
The clock is down to seven days starting Thursday.
Also obviously no news on a deal with #Isles and Nelson. Must sign before next Thursday or he won't play this season.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) September 9, 2015
As an restricted free agent without arbitration rights, Nelson's options are pretty limited. He might not like what the Islanders are offering, but he doesn't have a lot of say. As of now, we don't know what the offer is or how much Nelson wants.
Right now, we have Steve Bernier on a PTO and some words of encouragement from The Captain.
John Tavares says he expects RFA Brock Nelson to be in training camp for the start: "I'm not too concerned... I believe it’ll get done."— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) September 9, 2015