Jonathan Bernier Race Down to 3 Teams (TOR, PHI, MIN)
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06-20-2013, 01:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
There should be a requirement for the boards that one must be able to communicate at a 5th grade level; if you can't spell the names of your star players, it's not likely you can reason your way through a trade. Waiting for the next mention of NYI's offer of a 1st, a 3rd, and Kirill Kabanov...
Anyways, when you analyze the goalie market, I think it's pretty easy to see that Bernier's the best choice. Of the prospect goalies, he's the most refined (Raanta, Khudobin), a Cup winner, an 11th overall pick, and groomed in a good organizational culture with Ranford overseeing his development. He's got really good stats with irregular playing time, so they're likely to get better with more playing time, all things equal.
Overall, he's cheaper than the big-name free agents like Smith and Backstrom. With Smith, there's the risk of him returning to his Tampa performance, and being stuck with Bryzgalov 2.0. Backstrom is on the downside of his career, and is likely going back to Minnesota, plus he's hurt 25% of the time. Nabokov is nothing more than a short-term stopgap, same with Vokoun.
On the trade market, you've got Ryan "Loose Lips" Miller who's also in the decline and expensive. On top of that, Ward might be available, but he's no better than Miller at this stage in his career. I'm not even going to propose Luongo as a viable option due to his contract, the fact the Vancouver didn't move him when they had the chance, and that people generally dislike the Canucks and other GMs are probably getting a kick out of Gillis looking like a complete tool.
Then you've got the possibility of Bryzgalov hitting the market, but that would require an organization taking a risk in terms of distraction and culture influence; I'd think it would have to be a small-market team.
So, when you consider the options on the market, Bernier is the only option that's cheap (big concern with the cap coming down), proven he can handle the load, entering his prime, and will thrive in a new role with a new team. Or, at least, that's the projection.
Then, when you look at the teams who have goaltending issues:
-Colorado (Varlamov has mostly been a bust)
-Calgary (Kipper to retire?)
-Minnesota (Backstrom to come back?)
-Edmonton (Dubnyk is eeeeeehhhhhh)
-Phoenix (big hole if Smith leaves)
-Philadelphia (to buy-out or not to buy-out)
-New Jersey (heir apparent to Brodeur?)
-New York Islanders (Bernier will be better than present day Nabokov)
-Pittsburgh (shudders at the thought of Fleury)
-Florida (sounds like there are doubts about Markstrom)
-Tampa Bay (hey, Bernier, you could be the next contestant on goalie roulette!)
-Montreal (they love the Frenchies, and Carey Price can't leave the house)
-Toronto (Leiweke has first-hand experience with Bernier and Reimer is hit or miss)
-Buffalo (Miller on the move, less likely now that Enroth has re-upped)
-Carolina (Ward to be traded?)
That's like half the teams in the league, so it's not hard to see the at least 5 of them have zeroed in on Bernier during the auction. Getting a return like Couturier seems completely reasonable to me. For all of Bernier's "unproven" detractors, you're talking about a rushed prospect that had a 15 point, -8 season, yet I don't hear "unproven" constantly attached to his name...
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