Just when you thought it was safe to assume the Islanders were starting to put more stock in their youth, they bring back an old favorite (of the coaching staff, that is).
The team agreed to terms on a one-year two-way contract with Steve Bernier this morning, for reasons unknown. It could be mainly for the sake of the Sound Tigers or it could be for an extra forward role with the big club.
Bernier is on waivers today. If he clears, headed to BPT. #Isles— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 24, 2016
Another update via Sound Tigers beatwriter Michael Fornabaio makes him seem Bridgeport bound:
Islanders announced they've signed Steve Bernier, expected to be here. Eric Boulton not here: "sorting family issues," said B.Thompson.— Michael Fornabaio (@fornabaioctp) October 24, 2016
The Islanders already have more forwards than they know what to do with. Rookie Mathew Barzal hasn’t played since game two against the Capitals because the center is unsuited to the wing, according to Jack Capuano. Winger Shane Prince is still on IR after playing the first couple of games, but he’ll be back eventually we assume.
They’ve won two straight and seem to have a set group of forwards for now, including 19-year-old Anthony Beauvillier, who has five points in his five games. Capuano did say he wants to get Barzal back in the lineup at some point before a decision is made about whether to send him back to his junior team or not. CHL players can play a maximum of nine games in the NHL before their entry level contracts kick in.
Bernier had a goal and five assists in 24 regular season games with the Islanders last season. He also played in the first round of the playoffs, in case you forgot. He had a 45.7% 5v5 corsi for last season, per stats.hockeyanalysis.com. The team had him in camp on a PTO, but released him just before the season. Stephen Gionta, another 30-plus-year-old-ex-Devil, was also in on a PTO, got hurt and was released, but he signed an AHL contract with Bridgeport.
So who knows. The Islanders don’t look like they need a Bernier type, yet here he is. Like the pennies at the bottom of a Trick or Treat basket.