Swedish defenseman Julius Bergman took a significant step forward in his second professional season with the San Jose Barracuda. He scored 19 more points (30) than his rookie season (11), and shot 82 more times (138) in only four more games. Bergman was even better in the postseason, tying fellow Swedes Joakim Ryan and Tim Heed for first in playoff assists among Barracuda defenseman, and tying for second among the entire team.
While Bergman isn’t as often discussed as his countrymen Heed and Ryan the 21-year-old is nearly five years younger than the former and three years younger than the latter. Plus, because the first two years of his contract slid, according to Cap Friendly, Bergman still has two more seasons left on his entry-level contract.
He doesn’t offer the same offensive upside as some of San Jose’s other defensemen in the system, but Bergman’s size, mobility, and puck-moving skills project well for the future. Dobber Prospects writer Zachary DeVine noted in a scouting report earlier this season that “every week he seems to get better.”
Bergman will have the chance to continue to improve with the Barracuda this season, and should see his role expand, especially if Heed and/or Ryan break camp with the Sharks. He probably won’t have to worry about carrying his partner, as he did last season playing mostly alongside Mirco Mueller. Given the organization’s crowded blueline at each level, Bergman probably won’t see any time in the NHL this season. He still has plenty of time to develop, though, and continued improvement will make San Jose’s decision to trade up to take him in the 2014 look particularly shrewd.
Name: Julius Bergman
Age (as of 9/9/17): 21
Last Year’s Ranking: 15
2016-17 Team: San Jose Barracuda
Where he’ll (probably) be next year: San Jose Barracuda
What we like
Mobility, nastiness, puck-moving skills.
What to improve on
Continued development of his offensive game, filling out his 6-foot-1 frame.
Bergman scored the first Calder Cup playoffs goal of his career on a rising slap shot in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. It was only the fourth goal he scored all year in the regular season and playoffs.