Bernier told TVA Sports—a Canadian French language TV station—“I asked the Kings to trade me before the trade deadline, but they refused. Now that Jonathan Quick signed a long-term deal, I expect to be traded before training camp starts,” via NHL.com.
The 23-year-old is certainly talented, but there is no sense in keeping a player who does not want to be with the team.
The Kings drafted Bernier with the 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft, and he has lived up to expectations in his limited playing time.
His best performance came in March of 2010 when he filled in for Quick, who missed the game because of the birth of his first child. Bernier made 29 saves and blocked all six shots in a penalty shootout to give the Kings a 2-1 victory.
He has plenty of upside, but the Kings simply cannot keep him. Los Angeles awarded Quick with a 10-year, $58 million contract extension after the 26-year-old won the Conn Smythe Trophy and led the Kings to their first championship in franchise history.
Throwing that kind of money at Quick is an emphatic statement that the team expects him to be on the ice nearly every night.
This means that Bernier’s future contribution in Los Angeles will continue to be as a backup. Even when he played well on the ice, the Kings never wavered in their commitment to Quick.
His fine performances in both the NHL and the AHL have shown that he deserves more playing time than the Kings are willing to give him.
Bernier is no longer a good fit for the team and there is no reason to keep a backup who will be discontent with his role. Management must construct a deal to move him before the season starts.