NHL Rumors: Is Jonathan Bernier worth Pursuing for the Maple Leafs?

It’s early August of 2012, which means it’s the one month of the year that there isn’t much action in the hockey world.

With September bringing the NHL preseason and the month of July entertaining fans with a fresh dose of free agent frenzy, August is the lone month of the off-season without much news for hockey fans.

This is why NHL rumors play such a large role in the dead heat of summer.

Whether they are fresh rumors regarding potential signings or new trade rumors; or perhaps re-hashed rumors from earlier in the calender year, hockey fans seem to cling on to even the most unrealistic assertions to get them through hockey’s offseason.

One such rumor happens to involve the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kingsbackup netmider, Jonathan Bernier.

After initial rumors surfaced about Bernier requesting a trade from the Kings organization in late June, CBC’s Andi Petrillo tweeted just under a month ago that the Maple Leafs had put in an offer for the former first-round draft choice.

While the prospect of acquiring a young and talented goalie may be enticing for many fans, those people should proceed cautiously with their campaign to bring the Laval, Quebec native to hockey’s most prestigious market.

Consider the fact that in his 48 career games played, Bernier’s goals against average (GAA) is only 0.33 points better than that of Leafs youngster James Reimer (2.50 for Bernier and 2.88 for Reimer) and his career save percentage (SV%) is actually a point lower (.911 for Reimer to .910 for Bernier).

Those numbers indicate that Reimer is just about on par with Bernier and that Toronto’s defense is a bit weaker than that of the Kings.

The next thing one must look at before jumping on the Bernier bandwagon is the games played total.

Despite that fact that Bernier has been fairly successful at just about every level of play in his young career, he has yet to be a full-time starter and there is nothing to suggest that he will be a consistent number one over a full season, especially in a highly-scrutinized market like Toronto.

The other argument that Bernier advocated love to put forth is that he has much more potential than Reimer.

While this may be true, it is worth mentioning that he was also said to have more potential than current Conn Smyhe award winner Jonathan Quick, who was selected in the third round of the 2005 draft (Reimer, coincidentally, was also a third round selection).

See, a goalie’s “potential” is so much harder to assess than that of positional players and with hard work and solid coaching, even a lower round draft choice can become a stand out starter.

So the question becomes, is it really worth it for Toronto to deal away a piece or two of their current roster or future plans to acquire a goaltender who hasn’t been that much more successful (if at all) than what they’ve already got?

I’d hope the answer would only be yes if it was clear that Reimer’s head injury was still bothering him.

Otherwise, the Leafs would be wise to stick with what they already have.

 

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