Bernier, Leafs settle before arbitration ruling

Jonathan Bernier and the Toronto Maple Leafs were $2.2 million apart just four days ago, but with three hours to spare, the two sides have avoided the need for an arbitrators ruling and agreed to terms on a new contract.

The Deal

It’s a pretty straight forward one, really. Bernier gets a two year deal for $8.3 million, which in turn pays him $4.15 million in each year of the contract. Each of these years come with a $2 million signing bonus, which is of course integrated into the cap hit. 

What does this mean for Bernier?

Bernier is now the 24th highest paid goaltender in the National Hockey League, while being one of the youngest in the top 25. Only Braden Holtby ($6.1 million) and Sergei Bobrovsky ($7.425) make more money at a younger age. This isn’t neccessarily a bad thing – it shows that today’s GMs require a larger sample before dishing out large paycheques to goaltenders.

As well, Bernier also gives up a single year of unrestricted free agency with this signing. He was due to hit the market as earily as next July.

What does this mean for the Leafs? 

The deal is a pretty solid one for a goaltender of his calibre. While Bernier is far from an elite goaltender, he’s put up a very solid 0.917 save percentage over the past 110 games with the Leafs. If he starts off this season decently and the Leafs feel that they’d still like to acquire assets, the combination of term and cost could make him an attractive target for a team that isn’t quite capped out but wants to improve in net.

The structure of the deal also makes him intriguing for a team that is low on actual cash. With Toronto paying out an immediate $2 million today, this brings his dollar value down to $6.15 million over the next 23 months. If Toronto holds on to him until July 1st of next year, his real money cost will be just $2.15M. A team struggling to hit the floor that wants to be somewhat competitive would be all over such an acquisition.

Plus, if the Leafs turn out to be not as awful as we’re expecting, there are worse things to have in the world than a Bernier-Reimer duo, at this age, combining for under $6.5 million against the cap. Toronto now has $2.5 million in cap space, though they can spend up to $7.5 million more with Nathan Horton’s LTIR-ready contract considered.

Overall, the deal is a fair one for both sides, and shows how ridiculous the arbitration demand system is. It’s of no shock to see both sides hit a middle ground as quickly as they did, even if the team gave in more than the player.

  • Poluza

    I’d say this is a great deal, considering they’re buying a year of UFA status. I wonder how well Bernier fits into the current management group’s long term plans. I feel like Nonis would have given him a 4 or 5 year contract, to “solidify the position”, and “give him a chance to compete” or whatever.

    Anyways, good deal. It will be interesting to see if he stays around beyond those years, though

    • Poluza

      I agree and the thing I don’t like about the site is all the Bernier fans probably because of his pedigree and the fact he fights. Very few on here aside from reimerfan gives Reimer his due.

      • FlareKnight

        Could say that Bernier also gets a rough time from Reimer fans because Reimer is just the nicest guy in the world and he’s got this underdog story going for him.

        Reimer is a good goalie. Though I do worry since he hasn’t shown much ability to adapt to the backup role. Hopefully he can be a #1 so that isn’t an issue, but will have to see.

        While I think Bernier has a better skillset, I think both are solid goalies. Just a question of who if either will be the guy going forward.

  • Poluza

    I would have thought Bernier was worth at least $4.5 million.

    Excellent deal for the Leafs, not just for the money but for added value on the trade market come next March.

    • TGT23

      Great weed your smoking bud….at the very least I thought more like 7 or 8 Million, after all that’s the intelligence of that statement and all bernier fans…..wake up and smell the coffee….the Guy sucked this season and wasn;t all that the first……this isn’t Cary Price were talking about….what a waste of money that once again went towards goal tending instead of the team in front…just as they did 2 years ago to bring bernier over….
      Reimer deserved the benifit of the doubt and should have been giving the Starter position to lead the team in the rbuild, not an over paid under achiver as Bernier…..good lesson for the kids out there, hey don’t worry you don’t need to be good at what you do, it’s ok to suck as you still get rewarded in the end…

      Poor Reims never really giving a chance and to say he had many chances with bernier there is not the same as totally backing Reims up and saying heres the team, heres your shot lets see what you got…but with the whole organization behind him….like bernier was giving…

      Your dam right Reims never got his due…except all the trash trown his way……..

      If you all stood back and really watched the games you see that Bernier is not the better of the 2 in the long stretch….

      I Hope reims come out this year determine to prove himself and than turns around and tell you all to “STICK IT”

      over twice the amount than reims..who you clain is a back up..yet Bernier is worth twice the amout for a tiny bit higher stats…he also had a hell of alot more games to do so….

  • Gary Empey

    Everyone knows Babcock plays the best people he has at every position. He doesn’t concern himself with how much a player makes. He doesn’t let the GM or anyone else tell him who to dress and put on the ice.

    If Reimer shows up at camp and out preforms Bernier you can expect to see him in net on opening night.

    As a leaf fan I like them both. I am satisfied we now have two reasonably good goalies under contract. This covers us in the likely event of injuries.

    PS If you sincerely believe Babcock should start Reimer then send Babcock an email. State your reasons why. I understand Babcock likes to hear everyones opinion and then considers his own, then finally makes a decision.

  • giproc

    Might work out fine if this allows Bernier to concentrate from the first drop of the puck to the final buzzer, something he failed to do far too often last year.

  • giproc

    as I said really watch the games from last year and tell me just how good Bernier was and how he deserves this 2 yr/over 8 million deal he got……..

    Alot og wasted money to spend on a Goaltender on a rebuilding team…..

    but uts the Leafs they haven been throwing money away fro years.

    • Kanuunankuula

      If we’re rebuilding, what does it matter? He’ll come off the books before we’re contending. I guess you’d just let him walk for nothing. Atleast now we might be able to trade him and Reimer before rebuild is done. Both will be told old by then, hopefully either Sparks, Bibeau or Gibson will be able to take the reigns bu then.

    • Kanuunankuula

      If we’re rebuilding, what does it matter? He’ll come off the books before we’re contending. I guess you’d just let him walk for nothing. Atleast now we might be able to trade him and Reimer before rebuild is done. Both will be told old by then, hopefully either Sparks, Bibeau or Gibson will be able to take the reigns by then.

    • TGT23

      According to you, a goalie who has worse stats is better because… bias… So, what good would it be to tell you anything? You ignore all evidence.

      Just look at their save percentages the last two years. Bernier’s is 8 points higher than Reimer’s. But, you say Bernier has proven nothing. You can’t point to anything Reimer has proven the last two seasons when he was given multiple chances and failed, his .908 save percentage the last two seasons being below league average. You can’t defend Reimer as a starting goalie, so instead you try and tear down Bernier.

      By the numbers, last season Bernier was in the 20’s among goalies in many statistical categories. I think he was actually 24th in SV%. He is the 24th highest paid goalie. This deal is exactly what he should be getting.

  • TGT23

    Top save % from High chance shots last 2 years.

    #1 Jones .8827

    #2 Griess .8739

    #3 Talbot .8616

    #4 Price .8586

    #21 Bernier .8404

    #25 Reimer .8365

    12-13 to 13-14 top Save% from high chance shots

    #1 Rask .8800

    #2 Smith .8790

    #3 Lundquist .8600

    #7 Reimer .8549

    #23 Bernier .8367