While Lean Bergmann has been quiet on the scoresheet, head coach Roy Sommer was quick to compliment the 21-year-old as a reliable part of the Barracuda’s offense.
“He’s a horse, he’s a hard guy to stop,” Sommer said. “He’s just playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
Bergmann, a speedster with quick hands, makes use of his 6-foot-2 frame to play with a physical edge. But it was tough to keep that edge in the off-season: At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Bergmann went home to Germany, but initially struggled to find an ideal training spot.
“I went to a local soccer field that I used to work out at, but I got chased off,” Bergmann said. “The guy said if he saw me again, he’d call the police. So I had to move into the forest.”
That summer, Bergmann went to Sweden and skated with SHL players. When his practice partners got busy with the playoffs, Bergmann returned to Germany and joined his hometown team. Finally, in December, Bergmann re-joined the Barracuda, who he scored 17 points for in 31 games last season.
So far this season, Bergmann’s only point was an assist on the Barracuda’s first goal in a 6-3 comeback win over Ontario. He won a board battle to get the puck to Kurtis Gabriel, who set up Frederik Handemark for the goal.
Fredrik Handemark's first AHL goal, assisted by Kurtis Gabriel. Barracuda trail 3-1. pic.twitter.com/0ovC5uQj9W
— Brian Truong (@_BrianTruong) February 28, 2021
Bergmann is also on the Barracuda’s top penalty kill unit, alongside Antti Suomela. According to Sommer, the special teams role fits right into Bergmann’s style of play.
“I think just how quick he is,” Sommer said. “He’s been real detailed with it, which is good for him. It’s good for his game and for his maturity.”
Bergmann said he had been trying to get penalty kill time last season, and got his best reps in with the San Jose Sharks. Through a 12-game NHL stint, Bergmann said he did a lot of penalty killing during practice.
“They really taught me a lot of things,” Bergmann said. “And I had two of probably the best penalty kill guys in the league, [Barclay Goodrow] and Melker Karlsson, that I could watch.”
Bergmann on Fighting Gallant
At the age of 13, Bergmann moved to Sweden to play hockey. He continued his development by joining the USHL in 2016. After going undrafted in 2018, Bergmann began his professional career in Germany. In May 2019, he signed a three-year deal with the Sharks.
One of Bergmann’s first appearances for the San Jose Sharks organization was just a month after his signing. He played in the 2019 prospects scrimmage, where he fought with current Barracuda linemate, Zach Gallant.
“During the game, I think I hit him a couple of times,” Bergmann said. “One incident, where he drove the net and I defended him … I pretty much punched him in the face. I think we were probably gonna fight there, but the refs broke it up.”
We have some fisticuffs! Lean Bergmann and Zach Gallant go at it at the end. Team Marchment 4, Team Ricci 3 is the final. Off to the shootout. #SharksDevCamp #sjsharks #sjbarracuda pic.twitter.com/5FfAafNfzd
— TEAL TOWN USA – A San Jose Sharks Podcast (@TEALTOWNUSA) June 29, 2019
“The last shift of the game … we both happened to be on the ice,” Bergmann said. “The game was over and I got cross checked in the back. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ And yeah, we pretty much got going.”
Barracuda Split Road Trip
The Barracuda (4-3-2-0) never led in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Gulls (8-6-0-0) Saturday night. San Jose fell despite outshooting San Diego for the second straight game, 41-26.
After the Gulls scored the opening goal, Maxim Letunov scored his first of the year to tie the game. Robbie Russo and Ryan Merkley earned assists on Letunov’s first point through five games.
Gallant scored his first AHL goal on the power play, set up by Merkley and Frederik Handemark.
Zach Gallant first AHL goal on the power play, set up by Ryan Merkley. pic.twitter.com/h8zxadbxfK
— Brian Truong (@_BrianTruong) March 7, 2021
With two assists, Merkley recorded his first multi-point game. Sasha Chmelevski had a team-high five shots on goal for a second straight game.
The Barracuda host the Gulls Tuesday, March 9 for their first game inside SAP Center this season.
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