Should Bernier be a starter?

By Nina Falcone

For a team that’s struggled this season, the Kings sure do have fantastic goaltending. Jonathan Quick has been one of the league’s best throughout 2011-2012, leading the pack in shutouts with five total. We’ve seen him keep his team in the running for a playoff spot and saw him in this year’s NHL All Star game. But unlike most starting goalies, his backup, Jonathan Bernier, has a great deal of talent as well. But when your starter is on fire the way Quick is, it’s hard to find ice time for Bernier.

It has to be difficult for a guy who was a first round draft pick back in 2006 to have to sit on the bench most games when he’s capable of being a team’s starter. Ty Conklin of the Detroit Red Wings experiences the same lack of playing time being under starter Jimmy Howard. Conklin have a .878 save percentage but has only started in nine games this season.

Bernier’s started in 10 games this season and has finished those with a 4-5-1 record. Although that statistic may not seem too appealing, he has a save percentage of .911, just under Quick who has a .932%. In each of the games the Kings’ backup goalie has started, the team hasn’t scored more than two goals (which has been a trend this entire season). On February 28, Bernier started for the first time in over three weeks and had his first shutout of the season as the Kings blanked the Wild 4-0.

But when it comes down to it, Bernier will continue to see very little playing time as long as Quick continues to play as well as he has so far this season. But with the statistics he has, I believe Bernier would be a very successful starter in the NHL. Although it’s important to have a successful backup goalie, the Kings could consider him for a trade in the off season for a goal scorer, something the team desperately still needs.

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