Leafs should avoid Bernier: 5 reasons

When Jonathan Bernier, the Los Angeles Kings‘ well-regarded backup, announced his desire to be traded, rumours swirled that Toronto would be an appropriate landing spot. Here are five reasons why a Bernier-to-Leafs deal should not be struck.

1. They already have him.

More or less: Canadian goaltender chosen in the 2006 draft; will enter the 2012-13 season at 24 years of age; never played a playoff game; save percentage just on the friendly side of .900.

Take away the Mennonite background and last season’s rash of injuries — not a small deal, we know — and James Reimer is Jonathan Bernier. Neither is quite ready to carry a team into the postseason, but both have shown hints of brilliance that, with patience, health and some strong coaching, could get them to that proverbial next level.

Thing is, on paper, the Leafs goalie looks equal to or better than Bernier, who carries with him the perception of a potential star netminder being selected 11th overall (to Reimer’s 99th) and having won gold with Canada at the 2008 World Junior Hockey Championships. (Bernier went 1-1 in the tournament, splitting post duties with Steve Mason.)

Sure, there are hockey minds out there that believe Bernier’s hybrid stand-up/butterfly style and quick reflexes make him a prime candidate to improve with experience, but who’s to say a healthy Reimer (or even the untested Ben Scrivens, for that matter) won’t appreciate at the same rate?

Reimer has played 71 games to Bernier’s 48, has actually won more games than he’s lost (34-24-9 to Bernier’s 20-17-5), and has posted comparable stats — despite playing behind an appreciably worse defence. Reimer has six shutouts, Bernier five. Bernier has a .910 save percentage, Reimer’s is .914.

2. Bernier wants to be a starter now, but might not deserve it.

Bernier told TVA that he wants to be a starter in this league, but his impatience could be his undoing. Yes, it was only one interview, but Bernier and his Stanley Cup ring could have chosen to play things cool. There are worse jobs than getting paid millions to platoon in for a quarter of a season in a gorgeous city on a young, excitable winning team, allowing your skills to improve under limited scrutiny behind the second-best defence in the entire NHL.


6 Responses to Leafs should avoid Bernier: 5 reasons

  1. JoelLeafs says:

    I counted two. Though I have to agree. I just don’t see how Bernier is better than the current options. How many young, fringe starters do we need? Get a proven number one, a stop gap, or go with the kids.

    • Gambo says:

      Yeah you’re right. Reimer can easily be just as good or better than Bernier will be, Scrivens as well potentially. The perfect option would be Kipper. He’s signed for two more years which will give either Reimer or Scrivens the time to become the true number one. If I were Burke, he would be #1 on my list to get. He’s available and would probably get us into the playoffs.

      Oh and the other three reasons were in the link located at the bottom of the article. The other three options aren’t anything you wouldn’t know, just obvious points.

      • Steven_Leafs0 says:

        I don’t think Kipper is available at all. Calgary has been making moves designed to get them into the playoffs this season, if they trade Kipper that hope is all but lost.

        Unfortunately the only real option the Leafs have for a veteran goalie like Kipper to get us into the playoffs is Luongo. Other than Luongo the options for Toronto in net are not guaranteed to play better than 3.00GAA & 0.900 Sv%.

        • Shoelesshobo says:

          Before the whole Suter Parsie deal I would of placed Backstrom on that list as well but now not a chance.

          If we are looking at vet goalies we missed out royally on Vokoun as he was the best option. Now I feel like our only chance at a vet who can play is Luongo. I mean I am starting to lean towards giving Reimer and Scrivens a shot at first but I don’t know really I am torn.

        • JoelLeafs says:

          Well, considering Reimer was .900 and 3.10 last year after a head injury, both being his career worsts at the NHL and AHL levels and his NHL overall is definitely better thn 3.00. / .900 (2.83 .911) I think your final statement is a bit brash.

          Granted it would be foolish to say that Reimer is guaranteed to do better than those marks, it seems very reasonable and IMO, barring injury and whatnot, likely.

          I say we play him. If you’re going to be a starter in Toronto, why not be baptized by fire? And Scrivens is always there to push him to be better.

          • Steven_Leafs0 says:

            I hope Reimer is ready to carry this team into the playoffs and I do expect him to play better this season but there is no guarantee.

            Thing is we cannot just hope to make it we have to go out and get someone to get us in. There are some huge named players coming off UFA next season that would look great in Toronto but I doubt they will sign with us if we are still fighting for a playoff spot. We need to get in and prove that we are only one or two more pieces away from being a cup contender.

            Getzlaf and Perry’s connection to Burke alone are sure as hell not going to them either of them to sign with us alone IMO. We need to show them that we are a winning team that just so happens to be the most popular in the league.

            Anyway getting back to the main point of this convo, the only true option that gives us a huge chance to win is Luongo….

            – Bernier is unproven, just another Reimer at this point. We are better off, cost-wise, to sign a veteran backup like Ellis or just dress Scrivins and hope for the best (I would greatly prefer we sign a backup option and have Scrivins earn the spot by beating him out personally).

            – Kipper and Backstrom are not available anymore. Minnesota did something awesome by signing Parise and Suter and they are not going to lower their chances by trading their no.1 goalie right now. Calgary has been buyers this free agency and are sure as hell not going to trade Kipper when their goal is to make the playoffs. Unless Iginla goes first, triggering a rebuild, trading Kipper is stupid.

            I think if our goal is to make the playoffs and/or lure some big named free agents to Toronto then we have to get Luongo. Reimer and Scrivins do not give us any type of guarantees and while I don’t mind the idea of building our team the slow tried and true way through our own system but if we do that we have to be ready to tank again.

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