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Game 3: Steve Bernier tussles with Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko.
Steve Bernier is a Cinderella story on the New Jersey Devils team this season. General manager Lou Lamoriello acquired Bernier from free agency after Florida GM Dale Tallon chose not to grant him a qualifying offer to the restricted free agent.
New Jersey called Bernier and invited him to join the Devils training camp in September on a tryout basis. Soon after, Lamoriello offered Bernier a two-way contract to join the Devils organization, but he chose to decline the offer.
When it was clear that none of the 29 other teams would offer Bernier an one-way contract, he came to terms to play for the Albany Devils, New Jersey's AHL affiliate.
With the NHL trade deadline approaching, Lou Lamoriello was successful on signing Steve Bernier on a formal two-way contract so that he can be called up and play in their NHL lineup at some point this season.
Bernier appeared in 32 regular season games with New Jersey, and he scored one goal and five assists for six points. He was a plus-six in that stretch. When the Devils started the postseason, Steve Bernier was in the lineup as a fourth line winger. He gradually earned the trust of his coaches and teammates with his hard-nosed, grinding and physical style of play.
Currently, Bernier averages a little above 10 minutes of ice time per game, and he is mainly used for five-on-five situations.
Bernier's game is unique on the Devils, and he allows coach Peter DeBoer to roll four lines every night. He is ranked third on the team with 42 hits in the playoffs, behind teammates David Clarkson and Dainus Zubrus.
Considering the fact that Bernier only cost the Devils $196 000 against the cap this year, he is quite a bargain for Lamoriello's Devils.