While Jonathan Quick stars in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the Los Angeles Kings, Jonathan Bernier cools his heels as his seldom-seen back-up.
Once upon a time Bernier was slated to become LA’s goaltender of the future. But Quick had other ideas. When he matured into one of the NHL’s elite netminders this season, Bernier was limited to 16 appearances.
Once the postseason ends, teams seeking a new No. 1 goaltender will target Bernier. Although the Kings don’t have to move him -- Bernier is a year away from restricted free agency – his trade value is at its peak.
With both Martin Jones (.919 save percentage for Manchester) and Jeff Zatkoff (.920 save percentage) showing well in the AHL, the Kings have internal options for the back-up role. The time seems right to move Bernier.
The Tampa Bay Lightning desperately need a new goaltender for the long haul. “My preference is to go with a little bit of a younger guy that maybe has a little less experience and can step up and play well for us now,” Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times.
(That was his way of saying “no thanks” to the Vancouver Canucks regarding Roberto Luongo.)
Tampa Bay had Mike Smith but failed to develop him. Smith went on to star for the Phoenix Coyotes.
This season 900-year-old Dwayne Roloson finally fell apart and the team had no workable Plan B.
Lightning director of amateur scouting Al Murray worked for the Kings when that team drafted Bernier. He knows this is a star in the making. Tampa Bay has two first-round picks in this draft, No. 10 and No. 19, so it can assemble an appropriate trade package.
Columbus and Toronto are two other teams looking to upgrade in goal, but both could look at veterans instead. Luongo, Tomas Vokoun and Josh Harding are among the established goaltenders up for grabs.