The Los Angeles Kings should not trade goaltender Jonathan Bernier before the 2012-13 NHL season, and instead make him available closer to the trade deadline when more teams could possibly be interested.
L.A. Lariviere of TVA Sports in Montreal recently reported on Bernier's situation.
Recap: Bernier tells us he asked to be traded near the deadline, #Kings refused. He expects 2be traded close to home near training camp#NHL— L.A. Lariviere (@L_A_theRiver) July 12, 2012
It's not often that teams are willing to trade a young goaltender at the deadline, but that's the situation the Kings could find themselves in next season.
Since the Kings could be the only team at the deadline offering a goalie that can start for a contender, Los Angeles could start a bidding war for Bernier and receive some nice value in return.
Trading your backup in the offseason can be a risky move. What if Jonathan Quick got hurt early in the year and the Kings didn't have Bernier to step in? Bernier knows the team and would be comfortable coming in and being the starter if needed.
Waiting until the trade deadline to move Bernier would give Kings general manager Dean Lombardi plenty of time to find a backup for Quick from within the organization or from the outside.
Allowing Bernier to play a good amount of games next season to help boost his trade value and allow Quick to get plenty of rest would be the ideal situation for the Kings.
If Bernier was available at the trade deadline, it wouldn't be surprising if the Kings got calls from many teams asking what it would take to acquire the 23-year-old goaltender.
Los Angeles will probably receive interest from teams looking to acquire Bernier before the upcoming season, but the best plan for the Kings would be to keep their young goaltender for now and trade him at the deadline.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston.