After weeks of speculation, Jonathan Bernier was finally traded on Sunday afternoon. The Los Angeles Kings sent their backup goaltender and restricted free agent Bernier over to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Matt Frattin, goalie Ben Scrivens, and a second-round draft pick in either 2014 or 2015, as reported by Steve Simmons.
The Maple Leafs will now have to sign Bernier to a contract as he is set to be a restricted free agent on July 5th.
The Maple Leafs emerging as the final team in the Bernier saga wasn't exactly surprising (we had them in our final three), but perhaps what they gave up for Bernier might have caught you off guard.
Bernier is a talented backup goaltender. With that being said, his value appears to have been inflated in this trade. Stop and consider that Bernier was about to be a restricted free agent for a team that had no intention of keeping him. The Kings would be happy to get just about anything for an asset they no longer plan to retain, but here they secured two players and a pick. Not bad.
It also must be noted that while Bernier is believed to be a talented netminder, he still remains a mostly unproven NHL player. Over his NHL career, Bernier has appeared in 62 games, compiling a 29-20-6 record with a 2.36 GAA and a save percentage of .912. These numbers aren't bad, but one has to wonder if his lack of action over the last two seasons (just 25 combined starts) might have hindered his development and progress.
Then there's the other pieces involved in this trade. These types of trades take years to evaluate, especially when a pick is involved. However, some analysts are already questioning why Toronto gave up so much.
I'm not convinced Bernier will end up being better than Scrivens so this will be interesting to watch over next few years.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) June 23, 2013
Add in Frattin, a player which scored seven goals in 25 games for the Leafs in 2012-13, and you have the makings of a lopsided trade if Bernier fails to pan out as a netminder you can count on. Oh, and Toronto shipped a pick LA's way too. Toronto better hope Bernier pans out.
Finally, this trade signals that the Maple Leafs still aren't convinced James Reimer is the answer to their questions. Reimer went 19-8-5 with a 2.46 in 33 appearances in 2012-13. He was decent in the playoffs, going 3-4 with a 2.88 GAA and a save percentage of .923.