It makes little sense to hold onto Bernier, who could be a very valuable trade chip. He’s a young goaltender with plenty of potential, stuck behind a guy, in Jonathan Quick, who pretty much ensures he’ll never see regular starts in Los Angeles.
The market for goaltenders is limited right now, both as far as players that are available and teams that are looking for netminders. Once the Kings are able to deal Bernier, there’s a very good chance that it could be to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs are in the market for a goaltender, unless they decide they want to give James Reimer another go at it. But they’ve been mentioned in connection with almost every goaltender on the free agent and trade markets, so they are definitely looking at upgrading between the pipes.
If the Kings and Leafs are able to work out a deal, the main piece heading back in a potential trade could be forward Matt Frattin.
A restricted free agent this summer, Frattin signed a two-year deal with the Leafs, but it’s a very affordable deal in the six figure range. To this point, it’s the only actual name we’ve heard in any Bernier rumors.
Frattin got his first regular taste of the NHL last season, playing in 56 games with the Leafs. He scored eight goals and totaled 15 points. Where Frattin really makes an impact, though, is in the physical game. He had 81 hits in just those 56 games last season.
Frattin’s a guy who could fit nicely into the bottom six with this Kings team. He’s versatile and he obviously plays the physical game, so he’d automatically be a fit. But he’d also be able to add a bit of scoring on the third or fourth line as well.
Of course, a trade for Frattin would create a void in the no. 2 goaltender spot, so the Kings would have to sort out who would play behind Quick. Perhaps the Kings could convince Toronto to include Ben Scrivens in the deal? Either way, I’d expect a solution to the Bernier situation to come at some point in the very near future.