Quick has firmly established himself as the team’s No. 1 goaltender, while Bernier has been relegated to the backup role. The problem is that Bernier appears ready to make the jump from backup to starter. In fact, he may have the potential to be an all-star goaltender.
At age 24, Bernier could finally be traded this offseason after over a year of speculation.
Speaking with ESPN.com, Bernier explained a conversation he had with Kings GM Dean Lombardi regarding his future.
I spoke with Dean at the end of the season, and he told me he can keep me there but also feels he kind of owed me the chance to be somewhere else [as a starter]. So I guess we’ll know in the next few weeks.
Although it’s good to have a solid backup, the Kings are probably better off trading Bernier now than having him leave in free agency later and getting nothing in return.
Bernier has never appeared in more than 25 games, and yet his trade value may hit an all-time high in the coming weeks. It’s an opportunity for Lombardi to obtain high draft picks, good prospects or even an established NHL player.
There are five teams interested in obtaining Bernier’s services, according to Pierre LeBrun, who tweeted the details.
The 5 teams I believe are in the mix, to varying degrees, on Jonathan Bernier: Florida, Minny, Philly, Tor and NYI...— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 19, 2013
The Maple Leafs have James Reimer, who seemed to establish himself this season as their No. 1 goaltender. Reimer went 19-8-5 with a .924 save percentage. 2.46 GAA and four shutouts. He also put up a good fight against the Boston Bruins in the playoffs.
Reimer has one year remaining on a three-year, $5.4 million contract and will become a restricted free agent when it expires. The Leafs also have 26-year-old Ben Scrivens under contract for another year.
Does GM Dave Nonis believe Bernier is better than Reimer and worth the assets he would have to part with?
The Flyers have Russian goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who not long ago was regarded as one of the league’s elite netminders. However, Bryzgalov had one of the worst seasons of his career in 2013 and still has seven years remaining on a nine-year, $51 million contract.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie explained via Twitter that the Flyers would buyout both Bryzgalov's and Daniel Briere's contracts.
Goes without saying but will say it anyway (again): PHI will use its two compliance buyouts on Briere and Bryzgalov.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 17, 2013
The Flyers announced the use of a compliance buyout on Briere’s contract Thursday as reported by TSN.ca. But, there has been no official announcement regarding Bryzgalov’s status with the club.
Of course, it’s hard to imagine the Flyers would buy out Bryzgalov before they had a firm plan in place to acquire another netminder.
It’s also worth noting that Bernier has cut ties with his agent and will now be represented by Pat Brisson. Brisson also represents Mark Streit, Claude Giroux, Daniel Briere and Max Talbot.
Regardless of what team he plays for, Bernier’s future seems bright, as he continues to improve each year. In 62 career games he is 29-20-6 with a .912 save percentage, 2.36 GAA and six shutouts. He has good positioning, quick reflexes and solid rebound control.
If he does end up in Toronto or Philadelphia, Bernier better be ready to adapt to the pressure of playing in a hockey-crazed market.
Stats courtesy of NHL.com.
Contract information courtesy of CapGeek.com.