Last night, Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski posted up his list of “goats” for all 30 teams. These, of course, are the players that most should wear the blame for whatever failures have fallen upon their respective teams. Now, all 30 teams were listed here…even teams like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Vancouver…so Wysh feels even teams enjoying highly successful seasons have a goat somewhere on their roster chewing up stats sheets.
For the Atlanta Thrashers, the “honor” goes to forward Nic Bergfors, the first round pick by the New Jersey Devils in the 2005 draft. The goat horns were strapped on him despite the fact he’s currently on a four-game points streak, is on pace for right at the same points production as last season and is an EVEN player after 34 games. Last year he was a -10.
Here’s what Wyshynski says about Bergfors:
“There are signs of life thanks to a 4-game point streak in 2011, but the last three months of 2010 were the nadir of his young pro career. He scored two goals from Nov. 14 through New Year’s Eve, suffering through the indignity of several healthy scratches in November.”
While I can see where Wysh is coming from, I personally would have a tough time naming Bergfors has the Thrashers’ goat so far this season. Honestly, I would be hard pressed to use the term “goat” for anyone on this team thus far… save maybe two players.
Ben Eager would be someone who might just deserves the goat title before Bergfors does. Like Nic, Eager has also had to deal with “the indignity of several healthy scratches” in the first half of the season. However, the last time we saw him in a Thrashers uniform, he was skating off the ice of Philips Arena after taking a match penalty for sucker-punching Toronto’s Colby Armstrong. The Maple Leafs proceeded to drop four goals on us during the ensuing five-minute power play. In all, they scored five goals on the Thrashers stemming from Eager’s penalties.
Which Thrasher is most deserving of the "goat" label?
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Some would make the point Ben Eager all but single-handedly cost the Thrashers that game. I don’t know if that is entirely true or not…but is there any single game in which it could even logically be argued that Bergfors actions cost the team a game?
I don’t think so.
Ben Eager also has taken far too many penalties this season. He leads the team with 77 PIM though he’s played in but 34 games. Dustin Byfuglien is second in that stat column with 45, but Big Buff has suited up for all 45 games so far.
Another Thrasher that could possible wear the goat label around his neck is Chris Mason. The free agent signing has been quite the disappointment this season, going 7-7-2 with a 3.81 GAA and .891 SV%. Mason is 1-4-1 in his last six starts. Since the 4-2 win in San Jose last October 16, the only time Mason has allowed fewer than 3 goals in a game was during a 3-2 shootout loss to Carolina last month.
Mason did a good job helping to fill the gap between Ondrej Pavelec’s opening night fainting spell and when he could return to the net, but those overall numbers are clearly indicative of his struggles so far during this 2010-11 season.
Maybe Eager and Mason don’t deserve the “goat” label on this Thrashers roster. However, I certainly don’t think Bergfors does either.