Odd tweet sent out here from Nick Kypreos:
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) June 18, 2013
I don’t think that Jonathan Bernier is a bad goaltender. It may even be reasonable to suggest that Bernier would have success as James Reimer’s backup. The Leafs will need a guy who can give the team 30 starts, but at this point in Bernier’s career he wants to be a starting goaltender. As a restricted free agent, he’s going to be looking for a contract worth more than that of a backup because there is going to be some team who sees “former first round pick” and pays for potential.
As for the Leafs? They have their young guy, and their Goalie Of The Future™. James Reimer is the same age as Bernier and has more experience than Bernier. Full stop.
|Age (on Sep 15 2013)||Career Starts||Playoff Starts||Career Shots Faced||Career Save %|
It’s not too much to assume that the Leafs could use an upgrade at the backup position, but about the only time in Reimer’s career that he hasn’t displayed the ability to be a starter is the year he should have been on the shelf because he was nursing a concussion. In 2011, Reimer came up to the big leagues and nearly turned the Leafs into a playoff team. In 2013, the Leafs became the most-outshot team since the 2002 Montreal Canadiens to make the playoffs. If you’ll recall, Jose Theodore won the Vezina and Hart Trophy double that season.
James Reimer was responsible for ending an even longer playoff drought, helping the Toronto Maple Leafs avoid early golf for the first time since 2004 by singlehandedly defying math. The most heavily outshot team in the NHL is in the playoffs because of a goaltender whom the organization was desperate to replace. Reimer’s .920 save percentage on the penalty kill was equal to Vezina contender Carey Price’s at even strength.
…Reimer didn’t land anything close to the accolades earned by Jose Theodore. He was entirely left off of the Vezina Trophy ballot, and still has doubters in the media. Could the Leafs use a veteran backup? Yes. Does Bernier make any sense? No, because if the above chart shows anything, it’s that there’s no argument you can make that would suggest Bernier is more deserving of an NHL starting job than James Reimer.
Talks of Roberto Luongo to the Leafs have disappeared entirely. There’s no longer a rush to upgrade at the goaltending position. Reimer took the reins last year and showed that he’s a more than capable starting goaltender, and one that is fully-deserving of at least 50 starts next season.