Could the Flyers be targeting Bernier?

Bernier could become one of the newest Philadelphia Flyers. Image from bloguin.com.

As the Flyers are now nearly eight million dollars over the salary cap, it is likely that buyouts are looming.

Should the rumors of the Ilya Bryzgalov buyout be truthful, the question is: who will take over the vacant Goaltender position?

In the past few days, a name that keeps resurfacing is that of current Los Angeles Kings backup Goaltender Jonathan Bernier.  Stuck behind the all-star brick wall known as Jonathan Quick, Bernier has had limited time to showcase his skills between the pipes.

As he is set to become a restricted free agent, Bernier would no doubt like to have a fresh start somewhere where he has a chance to win the starting job.  Adding to the fact that he is looking to move is the fact that he just changed agents.  After firing his current agent, he decided to go with Pat Brisson.

 

 

Yes, that’s right, Pat Brisson, the Agent of Flyers Danny Briere, Max Talbot, Claude Giroux and now, most recently, Mark Streit.  This only further fuels the fire that the Flyers are targeting Bernier for acquisition.  Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet in Canada tweeted this a few hours ago:

 

 

According to most of the tweets I have seen and also from what I’ve heard, the Toronto Maple Leafs may also be in on trying to claim the rights to Bernier.  The only thing that may prevent the Leafs from doing so is whether or not they want to try and get a hold of Vancouver Canucks Goalie Roberto Luongo.

Bernier has played five seasons in the National Hockey League, but has only seen limited action.  Over that time he has played 62 games and currently holds a record of 29-20-6 and has six shutouts to his credit.  He has a career save percentage of .912 and a goals against average of 2.36.

In his last season with the Kings, Bernier played 14 games with a record of 9-3-1; he also recorded one shutout.  His save percentage was .922 and he carried a GAA of 1.88.  Not bad numbers, although with only playing 14 games, many believe he has yet to be truly tested.

If you look further back in the 24-year old net minder’s career, his numbers were close to the same in the American Hockey League.  Playing 115 games over three seasons with the Kings AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, Bernier played well.  In his last season before being called up he posted a record of 30-21-6 with 9 shutouts and had a .936 save percentage along with a 2.03 GAA.

Bernier followed up the regular season by playing 16 games in the Calder Cup Playoffs.  With a record of 10-6 along with three shutouts, Bernier had a save percentage of .939 and a GAA of 1.81.  Not bad at all.

The L.A. Kings drafted Bernier in the first round of the 2006 NHL entry draft (11th overall).  The 6’0”, 185 pound tender has certainly made a case for himself over the last six to seven years.  The only question is:  will Paul Holmgren want to take a chance on a largely untested goalie?

To be honest, I don’t see why not.

Homer was in on the Ben Bishop lottery on trade deadline day 2013.  He lost out to Tampa Bay General Manager Steve Yzerman.  Bishop is the closest example you can get to Bernier.  Having played 36 NHL games and 162 AHL games, he has clearly had a lot of experience in the blue paint.  In a trade that I believe will help the Lightning in the long run, Bishop will look to help them get back into the playoff race sooner than later.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, an example of the riskiness of this move can also be found in Tampa Bay.  GM Steve Yzerman signed Nashville’s backup goalie Anders Lindback and put him into their starting role.  Lindback, however, was largely untested at the time, having only played 38 NHL games and only six AHL games, before coming into Tampa.  With an average year, Lindback amassed a record of 10-10-1, this forced Yzerman to go out and get Bishop, in hopes that it would sure up the goaltending role.

I lean more towards the upside of this trade rumor; I firmly believe that Bernier can help the Flyers.

Now, Flyers Fans will have to wait and see if Paul Holmgren agrees with me.

 

Here are some highlights of Jonathan Bernier: