The San Jose Sharks took a chance when they signed undrafted forward Lean Bergmann to a three-year entry-level contract in 2019. That experiment appears to be over, as the team placed Bergmann on unconditional waivers on Friday morning, for purposes of mutually terminating the final year of his contract. The 22-year-old would have carried a cap hit of $836,667, with a minors salary of $70,000.
Bergmann played three seasons of juniors in the USHL before returning to his native Germany in 2018 after not being selected in the NHL draft. With the Iserlohn Roosters in Germany’s top men’s league, Bergmann shaped up to be a natural goal-scorer, notching 20 goals and 9 assists in 50 games, while concerningly taking 87 penalty minutes. As a rookie, he ranked third on the team in goals, fifth in points and fourth in penalty minutes. He was the league’s youngest player to reach the 20-goal mark.
Unfortunately, the first two seasons of Bergmann’s contract with the Sharks weren’t exactly regular, with the coronavirus pandemic cutting his first professional season short and limiting his sophomore season. Over the two years, he played in 13 NHL games, tallying one assist and taking four minor penalties.
In 63 AHL games with the San Jose Barracuda, Bergmann added 10 goals, 14 assists and 86 penalty minutes.
With his big frame, standing at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Bergman has the physicality of a power forward, and the Sharks were hopeful that he could also add a scoring touch to the bottom-six. It just never worked out for him, and between the mess of last season’s AHL schedule, and limited opportunities on the Sharks, Bergmann wants to return to his home country for the 2021-22 season.
Bergmann will play with Adler Mannheim in the DEL next season. Alder Mannheim had previously offered him a one-year contract following his rookie season, but the Sharks scooped him up before he could join them.
He represented Germany at the adult level twice, at the 2019 and 2021 World Championships, helping the team qualify for the Olympics. Germany will be competing in Group A at the 2022 Olympic Games.