Season 8 profile: Bern Interrail

pro Bern8

Team owner: Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (Swiss Federal Railways – SBB) Ceo is Andreas Meyer.

Farm Club: EHC Vaduz (Lichtenstein) EHC Vaduz

GM:  Paja Jansson (6th GM in team’s history)

Coach: Mike Babcock

Last season: 24th overall, out of the playoffs

Ins and Outs (Season 7 to Season 8)

Out: Henrik Zetterberg (retired), Radim Vrbata (retired), Leo Komarov (free agent),  Jiri Hudler (free agent), Brian Flynn (free agent), Nicklas Grossmann (free agent), Jared Boll (free agent), Tommy Wingels (free agent), Luke Gazdic (free agent)

In: Shea Weber (waivers), Wayne Simmonds (free agent), T.J. Brodie (waivers), Darren Helm (free agent), Stephen Gionta (free agent), Ryan Reaves (free agent), Curtis Glencross (free agent), Nico Hischier (draft), Jake Dotchin (draft), Lawson Crouse (previous draft), Timothy Liljegren (draft)

In Place (Key players signed past Season 8)

Sebastien Aho, RW; Mark Stone, RW; Mika Zibanejad, C; Dmirty Orlov, D; Joonas Korpisalo, G;

3qs

Three Questions

1. How will Bern climb out of the basement? General Manager Paja Jansson has been patient with his team, choosing to improve a little at a time. The changes from last season to this have occurred naturally, through retirement, attrition (expired contracts) and the draft more than anything else. And although the Interrail has some cap room and the lowest tax rate in the league, they were pretty selective through the free agent period so far, acquiring only former Lisbon winger Wayne Simmonds, a tough, crowd favorite wherever he has played. Jansson and the Interrail have a healthy rivalry going with the Smurfs, so Paja might be spending too much of his time focusing on stopping Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and his buddies and not enough on the other 23 teams, including his own. He seems obsessed with ruining the Smurfs.

2. Is goals against a concern? Yes, which is why we asked the question. Bern allowed 3.56 goals per game last year, which was fourth-worst in the EURO and the worst ever seen from a Bern team. The Interrail’s shots against numbers were also poor. It appears no massive overhaul is needed, but team defense, the defense corps itself, and the goalies all need to get a little better. On the blueline, Bern has a good amount of experience and skating ability, but they could use a another player or two who really understand how to play in the defensive zone. Perhaps Babcock should look at his defensemen coach more critically.  Joonas Korpisalo is the goalie of the future for the team, and last year, Jansson and coach Mike Babcock anointed him goalie of the present, as well. The young Finn played 59 games in goal for the Interrail, relegating veteran Mike Smith to backup and Jan Laco to the minor leagues. That decision seemed to have disturbed a lot of Smith’s longtime Bern teammates like Henrik Zetterberg, Jiri Hudler, Radim Vrbata and more, and perhaps the resultant mood contributed to a lackluster season for the Swiss team last year. But that might have all been part of Jansson’s plan. The veterans are pretty much gone now and there is a different feel in the dressing room. The team culture will be shaped by younger players such as Mika Zibanejad, Mark Stone, greedy Dmitry Orlov and Korpisalo, who needs some seasoning, but should become a very reliable goalie in a few years. Jansson redesigned the team’s jersey and changed the nickname as soon as he took over last season and he seems to be in the process of re-making the entire Bern brand.

3. What do opposing coaches have to worry about? Like we said, Jansson is patient, so other teams don’t have to worry about Swiss teen Nico Hischier getting an early call-up and flying all over the ice this season. Next year, and certainly the year after, they will have to start worrying about Hischier. Right now, Bern’s strength is at right wing, where they have 7 capable players listed on the roster. Look for someone like Kjetil Martinsen or Nathan Gerbe to be moved to the left side. If that happens, and with the addition of Simmonds, Bern will be able to throw three good forward lines at you. Mika Zibanejad, Mark Stone and Josef Vasicek are the best on the team at their three respective positions and they could form a dangerous line. Zibanejad and Stone are not yet near their primes so a breakout season for each is still coming. A possible second line could consist of Simmonds, Martinsen/Gerbe and Tony Martensson at center. The third line will be a critical line for the club. Promising youngsters Ryan Spooner and Sebastien Aho may not quite be ready for that line, but it looks like Spooner – and maybe Aho – will be given the chance to prove themselves and not to put any pressure on them, but Bern’s record may hinge on how well those two young men perform.

History

Season                 Place   PTS        PP %      PK %      SPG     SAPG     GPG     GAPG    PIM

Season 7             24        62        12.80      80.10    27.77    32.23   2.67   3.56    10.20

Season 6             21        71        13.10     87.0       24.45   31.77     2.40    3.16     9.99

Season 5             22        59       13.20     81.30     26.00    32.29    2.45    3.46    10.66

Season 4             10         94        17.6     82.1      30.71    30.34      3.24    3.12   11.48

Season 3             14         86        18.0     82.6      29.88    30.78       3.2    3.37    11.43

Season 2              11        93        17.9     83.3      30.96    29.66       3.32    3.04    10.09

Season 1             2           119        25.2    83.1      31.87    28.82       3.88    2.73    7.52

Top Draft picks

Season 1: Claude Giroux, RW, currently age 30. GP 561, Pts 646, -80

Season 2: Scott Glennie, C, age 26.

Season 3: Dalton Prout, D, age 27. GP 220, Pts 55, +27

Season 4: Cam Talbot, G, age 30. GP 99, Save pct. 90.4

Season 5: Kjetil Martinsen, RW, age 24. GP 80, Points 14, -10

Season 6: Mark Stone, RW, age 24. GP 162, Points 82, -79

Season 7: Joonas Korpisalo, G, age 22. GP 59, Save Pct. 88.6

Season 8: Nico Hischier, C, age 18

Trade History

Season 1 (picks without years listed are from initial draft)

Traded Round 8 pick (used to draft Martin Erat) 2013 Round 1 (Weiyang Zhang) and 2013 Round 2 pick (Leonardo Genoni) to Bratislava for  Round 5 pick (used to draft Kimo Timonen)

Traded Claude Giroux to Frankfurt for Rd 3 pick (Brent Seabrook) and Rd 4 pick (Jason Spezza)

Traded Rd 2 pick (Derek Stepan) to Edinburgh for Rd 3 pick (Daniel Sedin) and Rd 5  pick (Ray Whitney)

Traded Daniel Sedin and Rd 12 pick (Max Talbot) to Oslo for Rd 4 pick (Radim Vrbata) and Rd 6  pick (Johan Franzen)

Traded Rd 10 pick (Devan Dubnyk) to Belfast for Rd 12 pick (Sami Salo)and Rd 24 pick (Douglas Murray)

Traded Rd 14 pick (Matt Cullen), Rd 25 pick (Daniel Paille) and 2013 Rd 3 pick (Nathan Beaulieu) to Minsk for Rd 12 pick (Dan Winnick)

Traded Rd 13 pick (Dmitri Orlov), Rd 19 pick (Carlo Colaiacovo) and 2014 Rd 1 pick (Jake Muzzin) to Paris for Adrian Aucoin

Traded Dan Winnick to Edinburgh for Rd 15 pick (Evgeny Kuznetsov)

Traded Rd 20 pick (Brandon Prust) and Rd 22 pick (Mark Visentin) to Madrid for Sammi Pahlsson

Traded Nicklas Backstrom (goalie) to Geneva for 2013 Rd 3 pick (Scott Glennie), 2014 Rd 3 pick (Tommy Wingels) and $1.5 million

Season 2 – None

Season 3 – None

Traded 2017 Round 3 pick (later traded to Lisbon and used to pick Henrik Borgstrom) to Minsk for Jon Merrill

Traded Dalton Prout and Mike Cammalleri to Stockholm for Shane Doan, Anton Babchuk and Corey Potter

Season 4

Season 5

Traded Cam Talbot to Belfast for 2017 Round 1 pick (Lawson Crouse)

After the start of Season 5

Signed Fredrik Norrena (free agent)

Traded Evgeny Kuznetsov and Mats Rosselli Olsen to Lisbon for Joe Thornton

Signed Matt Halischuk (free agent)

Traded 2018 Round 3 pick (later traded to Lisbon and used to pick Evgeny Svechnikov) to to Copenhagen for Thomas Greiss

Season 6

Traded 2018 Round 2 pick (later traded to London and used to pick Joonas Donskoi) to Berlin for 2018 Round 2 pick (Tyler Benson) and Brian Flynn

Season 7 

After season started: signed Jared Boll (free agent), signed Luke Gazdic (free agent); bought out contracts for Johnny Boychuk and Matt Hunwick; claimed Ryan Spooner (waivers), claimed Radek Faksa (waivers)

Season 8

Claimed Shea Weber (waivers)

 

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