Is Berard on this team or what?
All signs are to YES. Bryan Berard has been working out with the team, and also on the ice leading the powerplay. So evidently a contract is being hashed out between his agent and the team.
This is unclear right now, even with so many Isles dmen sitting around. Freddy Meyer is a likely candidate to such or waivers, unless Bruno Gervais is sent down due to his two-way contract, and allows Berard to play in the meantime. But something has to happen.
Is this team REALLY ready for the longhaul, as-is?
To me...Not a chance. With depth players like Andy Hilbert on an offensively-needed line with Josef Vasicek and Miroslav Satan, this team has a severe power outage past the 1st line. Despite another good line of grit with Trent Hunter, Mike Sillinger, and Jon Sim. There is still a need to create offense past the top line.
Whether it be Tambellini returning from his Exile to Main Street...errrr, Bridgeport, or someone via waiver wire or trade, there is a big need for offense creation.
If you look at the Defense, while we are at it, there is also a severe need for a #1 & #2 dman to emerge and take over. Brendan Witt has been an excellent leader, but someone must take over on output offensively as well as defensively not just on a PK: Witt, or the PP: MAB & Berard. Radek Martinek is the likely candidate unless Chris Campoli is ready to bloom. Radek needs to stay healthy to see that potential fulfilled. Campoli needs to impose his will on the ice, whether creating opportunities in passing, or on the defensive part of the game. This is why Andy Sutton, as well as Witt, give some peace of mind on D this season. But they need more of their defensive core to do more defensively as well as aid the offense.
So, despite all the feel good and excitement as the Isles season starts tomorrow night in Buffalo, there are still questions which can only be answered on the ice.
Or, as it sometimes happens, more questions are created.
In either case, the excitement is seeing on how is all pans out, fits together, and we get to watch the start of hockey season.