NHL Trade Rumors: Toronto Maple Leafs Must Stay Away from Jonathan Bernier

Jon Reid@@JonReidCSMCorrespondent IIJune 19, 2013

James Reimer was a huge reason why the Leafs took the Bruisn to seven games this spring.
James Reimer was a huge reason why the Leafs took the Bruisn to seven games this spring.Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Here we go again.

More NHL trade rumors have come about regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs and goaltending.

It seems like no matter how well James Reimer plays, the Toronto media and a portion of the fanbase still don't trust the 25-year-old Manitoba native.

Yet, according to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet, the Leafs may still be in the hunt for Los Angeles Kings backup netminder Jonathan Bernier (via twitter):

Keep hearing #Kings Bernier will b traded sooner than later. With poss' Breeze buyout and Leiweke LA link, #Leafs #Flyers front-runners

— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) June 18, 2013

Why Dave Nonis would want to give up assets like draft picks or young prospects (the reported asking price) for a backup goaltender who is about to hit restricted free agency is beyond me.

Sure, James Reimer has been hurt in each of his last two seasons, but Ben Scrivens has proven to be more than capable in the backup role.

This season, Scrivens played 20 games for the Leafs and had a respectable 2.69 GAA and .915 save percentage.

His numbers may not have been as stellar as Jonathan Bernier's in a backup role, but keep in mind the Leafs are a far worse possession team and aren't nearly as good defensively.

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Is it really worth the price to upgrade your backup goaltender spot and bury Ben Scrivens in the minors?

Secondly, for those who believe in bringing in Bernier to potentially start or give James Reimer a run for his money as the Leafs' starting goalie, you must remember just how good James Reimer was this season, both during the shortened regular campaign and in the playoffs.

At the age of 24 (though he turned 25 in March), Reimer was able to post a 2.46 GAA and .924 save percentage. In the 2013 postseason, his GAA spiked a little bit, but he was still stopping over 92 percent of the shots he faced, registering a .923 save percentage and helping Toronto steal Game 5 against the Boston Bruins.

For starters, that gives him the best save percentage for a single season in Toronto Maple Leafs' history (with at least 25 games played), just ahead of Ed Belfour.

Speaking of Ed Belfour, who is widely regarded as a great NHL goaltender, just how good was he at James Reimer's age?

Well in the 1990-91 NHL season, Belfour posted a GAA of 2.47 and save percentage of just .910.

Compare Reimer to another favorite among Leafs fans, Curtis Joseph, and you'll get the same result: CuJo didn't register a sub-3.00 GAA until he was nearly 30 years old.

James Reimer probably hasn't even hit his prime yet, and he's already putting up Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph-like numbers. Trading for Bernier right now looks to be a complete waste of assets to make a lateral move, at best.

The final reason Dave Nonis should put the Bernier rumors on the back-burner, is because finding another goaltender is so far down the Leafs' priority list right now, it may as well be in fine print.

At this juncture, Toronto has to make big decisions on who they want to buyout, their unrestricted free agents (mainly Clarke MacArthur and Tyler Bozak), who should fill the No. 1 center role, locking up Phil Kessel (who's contract ends following the 2013-14 campaign), ensuring they keep all of their talented restricted free agents (who compose a significant part of Toronto's team) and preparing for the 2013 NHL Draft.

All of those things have the potential to make a far greater impact in Toronto than dealing for a restricted free agent backup goaltender.

Trading for Jonathan Bernier just doesn't make sense.

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