The Jonathan Bernier trade rumors quickly died down as Jonathan Quick had to undergo surgery to repair a disc fragment and an inflammatory cyst. Although Quick’s recovery is said to be only six weeks, it would be wise to let him rest a little longer than that. Even though Quick should be ready for the regular season, his workload during the regular season and post-season proved to be a little much for him in the end. Quick started 69 games and all 20 games in the post season, leaving him with more games started throughout the season than any other goalie in the NHL.
For this reason, the Los Angeles Kings should make an effort to start their backup goaltender Bernier more often during the regular season. He only started 13 games and played in 16 this season, but posted decent numbers for a 24-year-old who has never gotten a big shot at a starting job. He finished the season with a 2.36 GAA and a .909 save %. While his numbers aren’t the greatest, they are better than many of the backup goalies around the league and the Kings should put more faith in Bernier.
So why should the Kings play Bernier more? First of all, it will give Quick the rest he deserves during the regular season. Even though Quick was able to work through all these games and win the Stanley Cup this season, we have seen some goalies overworked in the regular season and play below average in the playoffs. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pekka Rinneand Antti Niemi all performed average at best and couldn’t steal the game like Quick could.
However, can Quick afford to play 70+ games next season and still have enough in the tank to take the team to a back-to-back Stanley Cup? With goaltenders having a high risk of injury, it would be wise to start Bernier to keep much of the pressure off Quick. Also, giving Quick a break every two games or so could be crucial if the Kings hope to have him for a long time.
Not only could it benefit Quick, but starting Bernier more often could also help Bernier build his confidence and improve his game. If he receives more starts, he will continue to fight to show that he is more than just a backup goalie. Not only will this boost his confidence, but it will also possibly increase his trade value. He will have the support from a strong defensive team and if they continue to play how they did in the post-season, his numbers will only become better.
With the uncertainty around Quick being 100 percent healthy this season, this could be Bernier’s year to step up.
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