WWYDW: Can Jonathan Bernier Play For Your Team?

Jonathan Bernier is back, and nobody is celebrating.

Bernier recently finished up a “conditioning stint” (with a heavy emphasis on those quotation marks) with the Toronto Marlies – one that started off very, very, very well before ending very badly. In his return to NHL action, Bernier got lit up for five goals on 27 shots in a 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

We know that Bernier has been at least a league average goaltender in the past, but he certainly hasn’t played like one recently. Most people would assume that he will return to form, but there’s always the possibility that Bernier has in fact lost his touch and won’t be able to regain it. 

This might be what Jonathan Bernier is now, and that’s not an NHL goaltender.

Like many expected, this is turning into a throwaway season for the Toronto Maple Leafs anyways. It’s not like Bernier’s bad play is costing them an opportunity at a Stanley Cup, or even a playoff spot. Hell, if anything, it’s helping the Leafs get closer and closer to that top draft pick. That said, it’s time to make a short-term decision on Bernier and how he’s deployed this season. Not long from now, it’ll be time to make a decision on his future in Toronto as well.

So the question is, what do you do with Bernier? If you were in charge of goaltending decisions, could he play for your team? Is he going to just ride the pine the rest of the year? Are you more inclined to just trade him and get him out of town? We aren’t actually considering buying out the last year of his deal, are we?

Let us know in the comments below.

  • Kanuunankuula

    If it’s me I try to trade him prior to Friday’s roster freeze. If there are no takers by then I assign him to Marlies when Reims is healthy. If he passes thru waivers then he can try to find his game. If he is claimed I take the 4.1 million in cap space and use it elsewhere.

    To either me even if he is claimed we still aren’t losing him for nothing. Getting 4.1 in cap space is probably equal to a second round pick. It has value in and of itself. But to me it looks like he has lost something. He certainly hasn’t been very good for quite a while now. It isn’t just this season either. This little funk is almost a calendar year long. It’s time to move on from him and wish him the best just somewhere else.

  • not_SorjeBalming

    I am just curious if JB had Lasik done at some point on his eyes…the reason I ask this is besides his commercial last year in which he obviously endorses the procedure. I had it done and while it did fix my near sight it messed up my night driving (Glare is like star bursts) to the point that I don’t even drive at night if I can avoid it.

    So…when it comes to JB…if he has any Glare issues they would be most evident during a brightly lit televised game at the ACC or whatever rink he is playing in. Could it be that he had much better results at Richoh because its not as well lit up? I am just guessing here but it may indeed be a factor and If I was JB…I wouldn’t exactly tell my boss that one of the most important (if not the most) parts of my ability (clear vision) was damaged and I can’t play to the same level.

    It might explain why he gets beat on certain shots….it may not. I still think this is more than just a head case. I know from my own situation that NOTHING can fix it when they mess up. There is no going back to Contact lenses or glasses to fix the issue…and yes my eyes have changed a fair amount from the original surgery date (22months ago) so that may have happened to him as well.

    I know guys endorse products all the time without using them per se. could that be the situation with JB?? dunno…but I think it’s not so simple as lost confidence.

    One more thing…I read yesterday that his former goalie coach Ranford mentioned how JB likes to read the angle of the blade of the shooter to guess where the shot is going…could it be he cannot see well enough to do that anymore?

    I betcha in the next few years if his game never comes back…he sues Lasik for tons of $$$ over this. Just remember this post if he does

  • Kanuunankuula

    Play him until he’s a respectable goaltender. Then when he’s playing well trade him before he sucks again. If he can’t put it together then we’ll take Auston Matthews move him for significantly less. Either way he shouldn’t be in the leafs net next year.

  • not_SorjeBalming

    you could try and trade him, but his value is at an all time low, and although Sparks could replace him as a back up, you want Sparks to play, and win with the Marlies (same philosophy as with Nylander, Brown, Kapanen etc).

    putting him on waivers is effectively the same, he plays with the Marlies in the AHL, a league he is arguably too good for (based on his conditioning stint). But Sparks or Bibeau still have to replace him, and effectively lose starts themselves.

    Let’s face it, we knew going in that this season would be a losing one, we got some hope from Reimer’s solid November, but we’re still 29th in the league. There’s no point in making a rash decision to move up a few spots.

    Hopefully Bernier can find his game by the end of the year. If Reimer resigns, Bernier will at least have some value if we decide to trade him. If Reimer doesnt, then we still have a goalie with NHL experience. but if we trade Bernier now, and Reimer walks, then we’re out two goalies. But at the end of the day, the best thing to do is to tough it out, he’s gotta play to get his game back, he’s been a good goalie, hopefully he can get back to that

  • Jeremy Ian

    He’s not tradable. He’s toxic. So, the Leafs are in a no-win. The question is which path to take to try to rehabilitate him. We are all going to have to be patient, though. The trigger might be the trade deadline and whether to move Reimer for a pick; in which case we may have a fragile Bernier and a 22-year old rookie holding down the fort.

    In the meantime, I would wait till Reims is back, and then send Bernier back on waivers. He may need a longer stint with the Marlies to figure out what’s wrong and find a corrective strategy.

    It feels like they are throwing jelly at the wall trying to see what stick. It’s all sliding down like some oozing mess. Not good. But maybe this is all you can do; try solutions and see if they work. The last 2 games Bernier played seems to show that the short-term conditioning didn’t.

  • Mapleleafs75

    I’l be upfront, I don’t follow the AHL so I was hoping someone could answer me this. I do know the Marlies are the top AHL team, so compared to them were the games Bernier played, against teams close to Marlies talent or closer to the bottom of the league level? Just wondering if his 3-0-1 record was a good sample of his performance?

  • Iceman484

    I would attempt to trade for a decent backup goal tender before the beginning of February. If no trade is available, then send him down to the Marlies for the remainder of the season. If he clears waivers then you try to move him in the off season.
    Worst case scenario the Leafs can buy him out right before the free agency period begins. There would only be a cap hit remaining for one season so it’s not too bad of a deal.

  • Kanuunankuula

    Justin I think fans have been too hard on Jonathan, after all several wise sages of the media just a year and a half ago thought he should be the third back up for team Canada after his 100 game illustrious career as an N.H.L. goaltender. He has just had some very tough luck the past while.

    The media picks on him because he doesn’t know who Nelson Mandela is. He had three wonderful shut outs against tough teams in the A.H.L. Give him time as he will work it out. If he doesn’t WELL HELLO AUSTIN MATTHEWS.

    • Kanuunankuula

      49years not surprised you’re feeling sorry for Bernier as you’re clearly a huge fan of his for some odd reason. He hasn’t won a game since April 5th he’s 0-8-2 the excuses are getting old for Bernier now. He was sent down to refind his game. And eventhough lastnight wasn’t his fault he was slow at reacting to the shots that beat him. I think they need to give him a couple of more games. But time is running out for Bernier it really is so are the excuses.

  • Gary Empey

    Justin, this is a bigger problem that I for one never foreseen. My expectations were with Babcock’s emphasis on defense first that both our goalies would excel. With two good prospects on the Marlies we appeared to be in good shape. Reimer’s play seems to have benefited , though injured. Bernier on the other hand looks bad. He can still make some good saves yet at the same time let in some really deflating soft ones.

    The comments above all seem well thought out. Here’s mine.

    The team can no longer start Bernier. When you do you are spotting the other team two goals before the first puck is dropped.

    A struggling goalie on a 29th placed team has virtually no trade value.

    Start Sparks, Bernier plays backup until Reimer completely recovers, Then waive Bernier.
    In meantime “Keep your fingers crossed”

    • Gary Empey

      Gary, logical, rational and reasonable. One can only hope management can admit that like previous regimes they have made a mistake and simply put him on waivers and if not picked up, well he can finish the year with the Marlies.

      I don’t think enough people consider what effect Bernier in the net has on the morale of the team. Imagine having a pitcher who consistently just loses out on the mound. The Jays had Josh Johnson one year and another pitcher a few years back who simply kept losing. When you lose the respect of your team mates and trust me that record would definitely have had the squad totally demoralized when he was in the nets especially with his patented early soft goal.

      Babcock and leaf management gave him chance after chance.

  • Gary Empey

    Justin I look at the Bernier Situation like this.

    He had a rough game in his first start back since returning to the Leafs from his Conditioning Stint. However the Leafs didn’t help him as they were very bad defensively in the 2nd half of the game vs Lightning & can’t really be faulted.

    However Bernier didn’t put up much fight trying his all to stop the shots that beat him mainly the Stralman & Blunden goals when he went down too early on. He just seem to stay still not trying hard to Atleast make an attempt at stopping them.

    But with that being said Bernier still should get another opportunity before we start even thinking about getting rid of him. Babcock should start him Saturday vs the his former team the Kings.

    If Bernier throws up another Lemon. Then you have to do what’s best for him and the team and find a team that will take him. Could The Flames be interested? Could the Coyotes? How About The Oilers