Whether or not the Chicago Blackhawks actually need a new goaltender is up for debate, but the fact that they’ve been mentioned in connection to several out on the trade market already this summer certainly gives an indication that they could be looking for one.
After once again being connected to Roberto Luongo in those trade rumors, however nonsensical as they might have been, the Hawks may start to turn their attention to a goalie who may have officially landed on the trading block on Thursday: Jonathan Bernier.
Like Anders Lindback in Nashville, Bernier has spent his days with the Los Angeles Kings filled with potential, but is stuck behind an elite goaltender. Unfortunately for Bernier, the 10-year extension that Jonathan Quick just received likely punched his ticket out of Hollywood.
With Bernier reportedly requesting for a trade, and understandably so, there will likely be quite a few teams that could make a run at acquiring him. And the Chicago Blackhawks should be among the first in line.
Bernier still has a year left on his entry level contract, so he’d be cheap and easy on the cap, with his future in the hands of his new team, rather than being hampered with a big contract like the team that eventually acquires Luongo.
Though he started just 13 games last season, Bernier put up pretty decent numbers, with a 2.36 goals-against average and one shutout on the year, which is one more than either of the Hawks goaltenders had in 2011-2012.
We still have no real indication of whether or not the Blackhawks are looking to upgrade from the tandem of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery. Smart money says that the Hawks give Crawford one more year between the pipes and look to upgrade in other areas, but there’s still that chance they could take a look at a young guy like Bernier if the price is right.
Once the first domino out on the trade market falls, we should start to see a flurry of deals. Of course, we don’t really know who the first domino is and when the first deal could go down. But with July 1st just a couple of days away, we should begin to hear quite a bit of the direction the Blackhawks intend to go in this summer.
Whether or not that’s one that includes Jonathan Bernier isn’t clear at all, but it is certainly worth a look. Stay tuned.