Germany’s DEL is becoming a hot spot for NHL players and prospects on loan. The latest additions belong to Adler Mannheim. The club has announced that they negotiated loans with two different NHL teams in order to upgrade their forward corps. The San Jose Sharks’ Lean Bergmann and the Vancouver Canucks’ Marc Michaelis have joined the team and will take part in the upcoming MagentaSport Cup, as well as the beginning of the DEL season until such time that the NHL opens training camps.
Bergmann, 22, is actually following through on a previous commitment to Mannheim, at least to some extent, by playing with the club on loan. The German forward, who played his developmental hockey in Sweden and the U.S., returned home in 2018-19 and had a strong first season in the DEL with the Iserlohn Roosters. Mannheim took notice and signed Bermann to a two-year deal in the off-season. However, they weren’t the only team recruiting the talented young forward. Bergmann wound up signing an entry-level contract with San Jose just months after signing with Mannheim and moved to the NHL immediately, having played just a pair of Champions League games with the team. He played in 12 games with the Sharks his season and impressed in 31 games with the AHL Barracuda. Now, Mannheim will finally get to see what he can do in their uniform one year later.
Michaelis, 25, expected to make his pro debut with Vancouver or more likely with the AHL’s Utica Comets, but instead will do so with his hometown team. The Mannheim native, who played much of his developmental hockey in Germany, was a highly sought-after college free agent out of Minnesota State University following four years scoring at better than a point-per-game pace on one of the NCAA’s top teams. He inked a one-year entry-level deal back in March, expecting to get some pro action well before now, but will finally take the ice back home.
Mannheim is one of the top teams in the DEL, but Bergmann and Michaelis will undoubtedly be two of their best players while the pair remain on loan. One exciting prospect is that the duo could form a top line with recent No. 3 overall pick Tim Stuetzle of the Ottawa Senators. Stuetzle suffered an injury while training with the team last month and is likely sidelined through the MagentaSport Cup, but could return in time to suit up alongside Bergmann and Michaelis in the regular season. All three players can play center or wing, providing the versatility to all play together in Mannheim opts to stack their top line.