We’ve been talking a lot about the Leafs’ situation in goal recently, as Bernier’s numbers have cratered to start the season, and the debate is ongoing about where the organization sits in terms of depth at the position as they look to the future.
James Reimer has been incredible over the last month, so we need to see where that goes, but last week it was made known that Lamoriello and the front office have been looking at making changes in the crease, likely with the long term in mind. Now there are some rumblings of teams looking to take Bernier off their hands, which is a little surprising given how much he’s struggled.
Don’t get me wrong, Bernier is not THIS bad. He’s in a rough patch. But like Reimer in the past, this type of skid brings up a lot of questions about performing consistently.
Here’s a snippet from a report by Chris Johnston at Sportsnet yesterday regarding Bernier:
His future is still somewhat uncertain — two rival NHL teams have recently had internal discussions about trying to acquire him via trade, according to league sources — but all Bernier is worried about is playing better.
Johnston is well-connected in NHL circles, so if he’s dropping this sort of knowledge, it’s definitely true. In fact I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if it leaked from the Leafs themselves.
The timing here is interesting though, as you’d think Bernier’s stock could not be lower. But perhaps that’s why teams are looking to cash in now – they want to buy low and believe he might bounce back to the level he’s played at in the past couple years, especially in 2013-14.
I’m not sure what we should expect in return if a deal like this was to go down. As mentioned, Bernier’s game could not be worse right now and his value is way down. He’s also on a 4.1-million dollar cap hit, though that shouldn’t sting anyone too much, as he’s off the books in 2017. The goalie market is also in a weird place, so we really shouldn’t expect more than a pick or something of that sort. The bigger question is whether the Leafs should look to move on, or, given how much Reimer and Bernier have flip-flopped over the last couple seasons, wait it out and see if things change hands again.
As for the teams kicking tires, that could be anyone’s guess.
“Rivals” would suggest someone within the division, so perhaps the Sabres make sense. But beyond that there isn’t a whole lot of teams who seem primed to take on Bernier and two years of 4.1-million in cap room.