Ever since the Los Angeles Kings signed Jonathan Quick to a new 10-year contract last summer, it’s seemed like a foregone conclusion that Jonathan Bernier would be traded.
After all, a young goalie with loads of potential is better served as an asset in a trade, rather than languishing on the bench for a season. In addition to the fact that he actually had asked to be traded. Yet, over halfway through the 2013 campaign, Bernier is still in Hollywood.
The main reason for that is the fact that Quick underwent back surgery in the offseason. Had the season started on time, he may not have been ready for it, and even if he was, there’s the ‘rust’ factor. So Bernier was kept around mainly as an insurance policy of some sort.
But as the season wears on, and the Kings storm back into Stanley Cup contention, it’s looking more and more like hanging onto Bernier may actually be the smarter move for the Kings, rather than dealing him.
There’s no doubt Bernier would fetch a great deal on the trade market. He’s only 23 and has tremendous potential as a franchise goaltender. He’s put up some terrific numbers this year, in limited time, with a 1.94 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in eight starts.
However, Jonathan Quick hasn’t completely recovered from whatever hangover is plaguing him, whether it’s Stanley Cup related or just trying to round into form after the back surgery. He has a GAA near 2.50 and a save percentage under .900. He’s shined in some starts and fallen flat on his face in others.
Which is why keeping Bernier around at least a little bit longer makes more sense. In the event that Quick continues to struggle, Jonathan Bernier provides a nice no. 2 option, which is a luxury that not a lot of teams have.
The Kings may very well end up dealing Jonathan Bernier before the trade deadline. But while it was a guarantee a few months ago, now it’s looking like the Kings could reconsider trading him, at least until the summer. Either way, stay tuned.