Recently bought-out scoring forward Danny Briere is looking for a new job, and as Pierre LeBrun of ESPN and TSN stated, he's been in conversations with Marc Bergevin over the last couple of days.
Being fairly tight against the cap last summer and with important restricted free agents to sign like Carey Price, Lars Eller, and P.K. Subban, this will be the first summer for Bergevin where the free agent market may be appealing, and Briere is the first real test of his aptitude.
What do I mean by that? Briere is likely the worst value for money buy on the market this summer.
At 35 years old, Briere is in the midst of a steep decline in talent, and he still wants both term and big money according to reports, as much as $5M a year. Worse than that? Even at his best, Briere is a one-dimensional offensive forward who gives up more defensively than he provides offensively, even while being sheltered and playing against weak opponents.
Briere has had just one positive possession season in his last six, and the decline in his performance has been severe. To contextualize this we can look at his possession numbers over the last few seasons, combining seasons to get bigger samples.
|Duration||Corsi for %||Goals for %|
|Five year sample (2008-2013)||49.5||53.2|
|Four year sample (2009-2013)||50.0||53.3|
|Three year sample (2010-2013)||48.5||53.7|
|Two year Sample (2011-2013)||48.5||48.1|
Briere has been sheltered at close to 55% offensive zone starts and played against 3rd line competition ever since he joined the Flyers. This, combined with a healthy dollop of great luck over the years, allowed Briere to outscore his opponents while being outplayed, but this has come to a sudden crash over the last two years.
Briere has seen a similar crash in his even-strength production:
|Duration||Even Strength Goals per 60 minutes||Even Strength Points per 60 minutes|
From this perspective, it's even worse. In a sheltered role Briere was a heck of a productive player, but he's completely dropped off a cliff since the 2010-11 season. He's gone from very productive to below every top-9 forward on the Habs last year, and roughly equivalent to Louis Leblanc as a rookie.
Obviously Briere's puck skills and instincts are still useful on the powerplay, but does he deserve to get onto the PP over any of the current top-9 Habs? I'm not so sure about that.
Considering Briere's cost, I don't see any way that acquiring him could be a good move. This is a real test for Bergevin. Is he actually an astute talent evaluator, or will he break under the pressure to sign a hometown boy?