Jonathan Bernier knows his time with the Los Angeles Kings will be ending soon, but that hasn’t stopped him from putting together one of the best starts of his career this season. Tuesday night saw the Kings’ backup netminder make a career-high 40 saves to lead the team past the Phoenix Coyotes. Bernier is now 7-2-0 in 2013, with a 1.96 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. The Kings currently hold the fourth spot in the Western Conference standings, and look poised to return to the playoffs while Bernier continues to enhance his trade value.
With starter Jonathan Quick signed for the next 10 years, there won’t ever be a spot for Bernier to be a starter, barring an injury. There is little doubt he will be elsewhere next season, though questions remain concerning where he might end up and what the Kings will get in return. While his overall numbers this season have been great, he has been stellar when playing at home. Bernier is 5-0, with a 1.87 goals-against when playing at Staples Center. The Kings have used him a bit more than normal this season due to Quick’s offseason back surgery as well as the compacted schedule.
Bernier appeared in 16 games last season, and had a 5-6-2 record. The 2010-11 season saw him appear in a career-high 25 games, while recording a career-high 11 wins. He isn’t likely to top his games played mark, but if he continues playing well and gets enough starts, he has a good chance to set a new mark for wins. As teams like the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning have seen their starters go down with injuries, there seems to be more than a few potential landing spots for Bernier. One thing seems certain, he is going to play as well as he can for the Kings until he gets moved.