Flyers could acquire Jonathan Bernier from Kings
The Philadelphia Flyers were a massive disappointment in 2013, missing the playoffs in large part because of shaky goaltending. Philly appears motivated to fix that position and is in talks to trade for Kings backup Jonathan Bernier.
The Kings drafted Bernier in the first round in 2006 with the intention of making him their franchise goalie, but the development of Jonathan Quick has made Bernier, a pending restricted free agent, expendable. The Flyers have been linked to Bernier before. As of now, the team plans to have Ilya Bryzgalov and Steve Mason battle for the job, but Bryzgalov appears destined for a buyout. Mason, 25, had a revival after being acquired by the Flyers late last season, compiling a 1.90 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage in seven games.
There was a report that Bryzgalov’s agent, Ritch Winter, had been told by the Flyers that the Russian goalie would not be bought out by the team, but that appears to be false. GM Paul Holmgren told the local media: “I didn’t assure Ritch Winter of anything. When the time comes to do our business we will do whatever is best for our hockey team.”
Bernier, who will turn 25 on Aug. 7, was outstanding as Quick’s backup last season. He went 9-3-1 with a 1.88 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in 14 games. In 62 career games, he has a 2.36 GAA and a .912 save percentage. His .936 even-strength save percentage was 11th in the league among goalies with at least 12 appearances. He has also made 62 career appearances, so he’s far from a sure thing—but that won’t stop his price from potentially skyrocketing.
Should the Flyers buyout Bryzgalov’s contract and land Bernier, in two years time the Flyers will have agreed to pay one goalie in excess of $20 million to play somewhere else.
He was the Kings’ first-round pick (11th overall) in the 2006 draft. The Kings reportedly have mentioned Sean Couturier and Matt Read in talks with the Flyers. Another team that has already been linked to Bernier is the Islanders, who still haven’t re-signed Evgeni Nabokov. The Toronto Maple Leafs also have been linked to Bernier.