This is Dan Lerg. He was a center and played his college hockey at Michigan. He could score goals. In his 4 college seasons he potted 24, 21, 12 and 31 goals by season (total: 88, averaging 22 a year) and is Member of Michigan’s Dekers Blue Line Club Hall of Fame.
He was drafted in 1978 by the St. Louis Blues (170th overall) and played one season in pro (three games for the Salt Lake Eagles of the CHL and 30 for Port Huron of the IHL) before turning his attention to other interests. Dan Lerg, at 5-9, was undersized for the pro game of the 1970s.
He would return to hockey as a coach (he served as head coach of Michigan Honeybaked of Michigan AAA midget division from 1990s through 2001-02 season, winning the championship in 2002) and is of interest to us because of his boy, Bryan.
Bryan Lerg played for Michigan Honeybaked and then graduated to the US Under 18 team for 2 seasons. From there he went to Michigan State and in four seasons scored 68 goals (averaging 17 per season) and went undrafted by the NHL.
He was signed by the Edmonton Oilers this summer and impressed during training camp with his skill and ability to compete despite a lack of pro experience and being undersized.
Lerg has an advantage over Dad because of the era in which he plays. NHL coaches are looking for players who in the words of coach Craig MacTavish can “think the game” and college is a good place to start looking for intelligence.
Lerg’s signing is an encouraging sign for Oiler fans. Although they have dabbled in signing free agent college players (Ty Conklin for one) over the years there’s little doubt several American teams (New Jersey, Anaheim) have been lapping the field in this area.
The Oilers are going to lose college kids to American clubs for all kinds of reasons, but Lerg proves that it is an area or procurement where Edmonton can have success.
Lerg has scored all 3 of Springfield’s goals in pre-season play and is certainly climbing the organizational depth chart based on what he’s shown on the ice in the last 4 weeks.
NHL teams can improve their talent base in a huge way just by signing quality college kids. This isn’t about drafting a Colin McDonald and hoping he turns out someday in the future, this is signing a player who can help you much sooner and gives management all kinds of options at all pro levels.
He signed a two-year contract for $568,500 each season. Colin McDonald’s contract is $662,500 and also has two seasons remaining. McDonald is 24, Lerg is 22. The Oilers invested a high pick in a deep draft year on McDonald and acquired Lerg for dollars only.
There’s a lot of benefit in signing a Bryan Lerg every summer.