Could Jonathan Bernier Solve the Philadelphia Flyers' Goalie Troubles?
Since it was reported that the Philadelphia Flyers have prioritized finding a young, long term solution at goaltender this coming offseason leading many to speculate they could find an answer in Montreal.
The Canadiens have an overcrowded crease with two young No. 1 goalies in Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price, and will have to make a final decision on who's the team's future goalie going forward by rewarding either Halak or Price with an extension while trading the other.
Depending on whom you ask, Price seems like the odd man out of Montreal as Halak has all but taken over No. 1 duties with strong play down the stretch. Whoever Jacques Martin turns to in the postseason will likely tip the Habs' hands, and all signs point to Halak.
In the last week, it has been speculated that Price—or Halak—could the Flyers long term answer at goalie. I went on record stating that the Flyers have to pull the trigger on a deal to acquire a franchise-caliber goalie like Price.
The Flyers have options outside of Montreal to find a starting goalie for next season, but they're believed to be targeting young, capable starting goalies. Outside of Price and Halak, there are really only two legit trade candidates that could step in next year as the starter: Jonathan Bernier (LAK) and Corey Schneider (VAN).
Bernier is a 21-year-old hybrid stand-up and butterfly goalies with great reflexes, and is very quick moving from post-to-post. He's a great puck handler, and comes up huge in big games. He doesn't have great size, standing only at 5'11".
Drafted with the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Bernier was thought of as the Kings future goalie; however with the emergence of Jonathan Quick, Bernier may be a few more years away from getting a shot with Los Angeles.
With Quick taking over as the No. 1 goalie in LA, Bernier has been stuck in the American Hockey League all season long, and he's tearing apart the AHL as he's the second best goalie in the entire league.
Bernier is 30-20-6 with the Manchester Monarchs, ranks first in the AHL in save percentage (.937), shutouts (9), and is second in the league in GAA (2.03).
In three games with the Kings, he has a 1.30 GAA, .957 SV % and a 3-0-0 record.
Los Angeles appears to be set with Quick as their goalie, considering he has led them to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-02 NHL season, so it doesn't take a genius to figure out that Bernier could be on the trade block.
The Flyers and Kings have a pretty decent relationship as LA currently employs former Flyers assistant coach Terry Murray as head coach, and Ron Hextall is the assistant general manager to general manager Dean Lombardi, all of whom have been with Philadelphia and are familiar with the Flyers roster.
One has to believe that the Kings would not ask for Claude Giroux or James van Riemsdyk for Bernier but would rather want a veteran forward who could provide some veteran leadership, and goal scoring like a Scott Hartnell, Simon Gagne or Danny Briere.
Trading for Bernier may make more sense than Price or Halak in the long run for the Flyers, and it might not cost them as much. Wouldn't it be great if Philly could find their franchise goalie while still having Giroux, van Riemsdyk, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter still on the roster?
All in favor of Jonathan Bernier as the next goalie in the Orange 'n' Black say "aye!"
This story contains scouting reports from Hockey Futures .
For more Philadelphia sports coverage, please go to my blog: The Broad Street Scoop.
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