LeBrun reports that a source close to the situation confirmed that the Kings have discussed Bernier’s availability with at least 10 clubs and that a deal could happen before or at the draft that is less than two weeks away.
It has been public knowledge that Bernier wants to be a number one starter in this league and that he has the skill and ability to do so. Blocked by Jonathan Quick, Bernier appears to be getting his wish, should a deal happen that would see him leave Los Angeles.
Just 24-years of age, the former 11th overall draft pick has been limited in his playing time over the five seasons since he started playing in NHL games and this summer marked his opportunity to break away from Quick’s shadow.
Set to be a restricted free agent on July 5th, the Kings know they can not afford to keep two, number one netminders given the raise that Bernier will surely receive in his next contract. Dealing him away while being able to command a reasonable return is in Dean Lombardi’s best interests which is why the Oilers need to consider what the asking price is.
The ESPN report states that the Philadelphia Flyers are said to be interested despite having their one issues in net. Craig MacTavish has said that he would like to shore up the goaltending situation in Edmonton but he never came out and said whether that would be acquiring a legitimate number one guy or adding a backup while keeping the faith in Devan Dubnyk.
The price tag for Bernier is said to be a reasonable one: a player and a draft pick combo. Would Sam Gagner and a second or third round pick get it done? The Oilers may have to part ways with their first round pick and a player like Gagner to ensure they win the Bernier sweepstakes. Again, providing Mac-T feels that this is the goalie to carry the load in net for the foreseeable future in Edmonton.
Over the last three seasons in LA, Bernier has started in 50 games, just shy of 25% of the Kings regular season contests. His record over that span is 25-17-6 with a 2.29 GAA, a .913 save percentage and 5 shutouts. Impressive numbers for a guy that hasn’t played every day.
The asking price might be too high and with other clubs in desperate need of Bernier’s services (Edmonton may not be in that category with Dubnyk’s decent play last season) MacTavish may be unwilling to overpay in the trade. With additional options available on the free-agent market, maintaining his assets for an absolute must have player later in the year, say closer to the trade deadline, may end up being the smarter move that doesn’t happen.
Of course we’ve already learnt that MacTavish isn’t afraid to make a bold move, just ask Ralph Krueger. Meaning any deal that’s made this offseason should not come as a surprise.
Will the Oilers get involved in the Bernier trade chatter? We’ll find out soon enough but for now let’s hear your thoughts on whether you think they should try and acquire the young goaltender. Leave your comments below.
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