Toronto Maple Leafs: Could Jonathan Bernier Solve Their Goaltending Problems?

Brad LeClairCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2012

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 17:  Jonathan Bernier #45 of the Los Angeles Kings keeps an eye on play against the Detroit Red Wings during their NHL game at Joe Louis Arena on December 17, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Dave Sandford /Getty Images)
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

With rumors swirling over the likes of Rick Nash, Eric Staal, Ryan Getzlaf, and James Van Riemsdyk becoming Maple Leafs over the last few weeks, I've come to a conclusion that these guys were just speculation.

The Leafs do have a need for secondary scoring, and they really could use that first-line center. But what about the teams most pressing need right now: A legitimate number one goalie.

For years, since the days of Eddie Belfour and Curtis Joseph, the Leafs have really lacked a number one overall goalie.

This leads me to speculate upon Jonathan Bernier and his availability.

The Leafs and Kings right now make for great trade partners. The Leafs are likely willing to give up at least one of their centers, and Mikhail Grabovski and Tyler Bozak may be at the top of the list. The Leafs are also open to giving up prospects or first round draft picks.

Lastly, they also be open to taking on salary, such as that of Dustin Penner, a former player that is one of Brian Burke's boys.

Anyways, the Leafs right now are in dire need of some stability in between the pipes, and Bernier could give the Leafs a long-term solution at a premium position.

Both goaltenders the Leafs have right now appear to be at the bottom level of starting goaltenders in the NHL, or make for some of the best back-ups in the NHL. They are not starters though that carry a team, and steal games for teams.

Bernier has only played just under 40 games and his peripheral stats are pretty good. A goals against in the 2.40 range, a save percentage over .910, and a winning record help make me believe he could make for a good starter.

Another aspect that I like about Bernier was that he eventually usurped James Reimer at the World Hockey Championships as Team Canada's starting goaltender.

He showed flashes of brilliance, before Canada was eliminated in the tournament.

A deal that could happen for both clubs will likely need to include one of Bozak or Grabovski, a prospect or NHL player such as Mark Owuya, James Reimer or Ben Scrivens, and a first-round pick for Jonathan Bernier.

However, I have my doubts that Los Angeles would do a trade like that unless they can unload Dustin Penner in the process.

So what are your thoughts on a Leafs/Kings Bernier Blockbuster?