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Sharks sign Lean Bergmann to entry-level contract

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It’s European free agent signing szn.

Lean Bergmann of Germany skates against Great Britain during the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Slovakia group A game between Germany and Great Britain at Steel Arena on May 11, 2019 in Kosice, Slovakia. Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

The San Jose Sharks have signed 20-year-old forward Lean Bergmann to a standard entry-level contract. The details are unconfirmed, but the maximum entry-level contract is a $925,000 average annual value for three years.

The native of Hemer, Germany played three seasons in North America in the USHL before returning home to play in the top German league, Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). Between the Sioux Falls Stampede and the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, Bergmann played 125 games, tallying 23 goals, 30 assists and 252 penalty minutes. He played three playoff games in 2015-16 with Sioux Falls and two with Green Bay in 2017-18, going scoreless in all five, but racking up 12 and 2 penalty minutes, respectively.

Last season, Bergmann played with the Iserlohn Roosters of DEL, where he totaled 20 goals, nine assists and 87 penalty minutes in 50 games. His 29 points ranked 66th in the league and fifth on the Roosters, where he also ranked third in goals (12th in the league) and fourth in penalty minutes (11th in the league). The Roosters finished with a 17-28-7 record, second to last in the league and did not make playoffs.

Bergmann went on to represent Germany in five games during the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship. He tallied no points or penalties.

“Lean has consistently evolved and improved his speed and offensive capabilities, to go along with his power-forward style play, during his time in Swedish juniors, the United States Hockey League, and most recently the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany, where he was the youngest player to score 20 or more goals this season,” said Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson. “We like his compete level and work ethic and the physical nature of his game should translate well to how we like to play. We’re excited to add him to our organization.”

That “physical nature of his game” could be what’s responsible for a consistent worrying stat: his penalty minutes. The Sharks may look to rein in that seemingly undisciplined aspect of his game in the AHL with the San Jose Barracuda before he makes the jump to the NHL level.

Adler Mannheim of DEL hold his rights for next season. Bergmann has shown that he’s not afraid of leaving opportunities in North America, so his development will be something to watch.