Jonathan Bernier was supposed to be the goalie of the future for the Los Angeles Kings, but apparently Jonathan Quick didn’t get the memo.
Quick has proven that he is an above average NHL starting goaltender, and because of that Bernier will probably not get his shot at earning the Kings starting job unless Quick gets injured.
So what does a team do with two goalies that are thought to be elite? Many think that the Kings should trade Bernier to help them add more talent upfront, but I beg to differ.
The Kings have both Jonathan’s under contract for this season and next, for very reasonable contracts with Quick earning 1.8M and Bernier earning 1.25M. Not too many teams have such great goaltending for such a low price, and I think it would be foolish for the Kings to trade that away for a return that probably wouldn’t help them all that much.
With two years left on Bernier’s contract before he hits RFA status, the Kings have lots of time to try and challenge for a Stanley Cup this year and next with two strong netminders. Add to that the fact that Bernier is just 23 years old and you have a young goalie with loads of potential under contract for at least two more years.
Just because you have two great goaltenders doesn’t mean you should trade one away to give them a chance at starting. Yes, I’m sure Bernier would welcome the opportunity to start in the NHL but Kings GM Dean Lombardi is more concerned with his team’s season then he is with giving players a chance to be stars in the NHL.
Add to this the fact that the return on Bernier wouldn’t be as great as many people believe it would be, as the Kings would likely get a second round pick or a second/third line type player. The problem for the Kings in adding a roster player will be cost, as they have just over 1.5M in cap space remaining, not an easy number to fit an NHL forward under.
The final reason why Bernier won’t be traded is the fact that the Kings don’t have a replacement for him, and any goalie that they could acquire to take his spot as backup would likely earn more money and make it even more difficult for Lombardi to fit under the cap.
In the end, don’t expect the Kings to move Bernier this season as it simply doesn’t make sense for them unless a team comes in with a great offer that the Kings can fit under the cap. Yet, this issue must be re-evaluated once this season ends, especially if the Kings can add another goaltender on the cheap to replace Bernier.
Next Up.....Evgeni Nabokov of the New York Islanders
Once again all salary cap info courtesy of CapGeek.com