According to reports confirmed by an NHL source, the Philadelphia Flyers are currently in talks with the Los Angeles Kings backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier. The Flyers still have not bought out Ilya Bryzgalov‘s contract, but this is yet another hint that the Flyers organization is planning to do so soon.
Bernier would be a good trade move for the Flyers, as they will need a solid goalie if Bryzgalov’s contract is bought out. Bernier is good enough to be a starter, but has taken a back seat to Jonathan Quick while in L.A. Bernier wants to be a starter and has spoken to the Kings asking for a trade before, but this offseason might finally be the right time for him to leave.
Bernier will be an unrestricted free-agent come July, but the Flyers will try to strike a deal before then if they can. The Kings are reportedly interested in Sean Couturier and Matt Read. They are still in talks mostly because the Flyers don’t want to give up Couturier. According to current speculation, the Flyers are more inclined to give up Read over Couturier, but likely will not part with both players. A more reasonable trade they will accept is one of the two players paired with a draft pick.
Bernier only played 14 games with the Kings this season, but he went 9-3-1 with a 1.88 goals against average and a .922 save percentage. He certainly has talent and would be a good fit for the Flyers if they can get him.
As of right now, Bryzgalov has not been told his contract is getting bought, but Danny Briere has already been notified that the team is buying out his contract. If the team is looking at another goalie and trying to figure out how to pay Mark Streit‘s rumored high salary, Bryzgalov is next.
There are also rumors circulating that Bryzgalov’s agent said he was not reassured that Bryzgalov wasn’t going to be bought out. If this sounds like deja vu to Flyers fans, it’s because it sounds an awful lot like when Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Jeff Carter wasn’t getting traded, and then he got traded.
If there’s one thing for certain, the Flyers will make the offseason interesting this year.