Canucks acquire Steve Bernier from Sabres
The Vancouver Canucks added a touch of youth to their roster on Friday by acquiring right-winger Steve Bernier in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres.
In exchange, the Sabres receive a third-round pick in the 2009 NHL draft and a second-round pick in 2010.
Bernier, a 23-year-old native of Quebec City, split last season between Buffalo and the San Jose Sharks, scoring 16 goals and tallying 32 points in 76 games.
Bernier is expected to help fill the gap created by Markus Naslund, who signed with the New York Rangers on Thursday.
"Steve Bernier is a highly regarded young player who's enjoyed success early in his career," said Canucks general manager Mike Gillis. "With his right-handed shot he will be a great addition to our top six forward group and an asset to our power play."
General manager Mike Gillis also said more deals could be in the works.
Bernier said he didn't see the trade coming.
"When I got the call I was shocked," Bernier told reporters during a telephone conference call. "Right now the only thing I am thinking about is getting in shape and having a chance to improve myself with the Vancouver Canucks.
"I didn't see this coming. I got traded last year in February. I thought I was going to stay there (Buffalo) for a little while. It took me by surprise but it's part of the job. I'm going to Vancouver and it's tough not to be happy."
Bernier, originally drafted 16th overall in 2003 by the San Jose, was traded to the Sabres last season in the deal that sent Brian Campbell to the Sharks.
In 177 career NHL games, Bernier has 45 goals and 90 points.
Gillis said Bernier's combination of size, age and skill fits into the blueprint the Canucks are building from.
"We were looking for a large forward, a right-handed shot that was younger," said Gillis. "When his availability came to my attention we jumped on it really quickly and got something done."
Meanwhile, Gillis said the Canucks still haven't given up on the idea of luring free-agent forward Mats Sundin to the West Coast, adding he's willing to give the Toronto Maple Leaf captain more time to consider Vancouver's two-year offer worth $20 million.
The 37-year-old Swede said this week he was "simply not close to being ready to make a decision about resuming my career at this time."
"There are a lot of things going on that are not in the public domain that I'm not going to speak about concerning Mats," said Gillis. "I think the only public statement he made it's easy for the media and public to take it a certain way.
"We're confident we made a significant offer to a really top-notch player. We are prepared to maintain our position to get it done."