Bergenheim's re-signing "will not be an easy task"

Mike Corcoran of ESPN 1040 had a very brief update this afternoon regarding Sean Bergenheim and the Tampa Bay Lightning:

A source close to the situation told today that initial discussions have begun, but that "it will not be an easy task."

This is an understatement.

Steve Yzerman got Bergenheim under contract with the Lightning for a song during the 2010 NHL off-season, inking him to a one-year, $700,000 deal. His previous contract had been a 2-year, $1.75 million deal with the New York Islanders according to

The unrestricted-free-agent-to-be is due for a raise, and unless the money is something that can't be ignored, Bergenheim will have every reason to put out feelers in the open market on July 1 for his services.

And it's not just about money, it's about opportunity.

Bergenheim was a 3rd liner in Tampa Bay last season, and requested by Yzerman to play the role of the pest and agitator while also chipping in when he could. He averaged just short of 14 minutes of ice time per game during the regular season (while scorign 29 points), and just over 14 a game during the playoffs (while also catching national attention with his 9 goals during the playoffs).

If Bergenheim wants more ice time, can Tampa Bay afford him that? Does he willingly settle for the role of 3rd-line grinder, or go to the open market where he will be courted as a top-line wing?

Though the chance to play for a playoff contender might seem like a trump-all to fans, the fact is that things are not as black-and-white in reality.