As the 11th overall pick of the 2006 draft, it was not entirely shocking that Jonathan Bernier came up big when called upon by the Los Angeles Kings this year.
The Kings lost an elite goaltender in Jonathan Quick for roughly a quarter of the lockout-shortened 2013 season but LA more-than got by with the play of Bernier, who notched a 9-3-1 record, 1.88 GAA and a .922 save percentage filling in. That’s not to say Bernier’s better, but his 2013 numbers did better Quick’s, which were at 2.45 in GAA and a .902 to save percentage.
It’s a marvel that this squad rolled into the playoffs improving upon last regular season by grabbing the fifth-seed and they have Bernier to thank for that. Now Kings general manager Dean Lombardi gets to thank Bernier for the value he drummed up, as Los Angeles traded the backup netminder to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Matt Frattin, goalltender Ben Scrivens and either a 2014 or 2015 second-round draft pick.
This deal was practically imminent dating back to the winter and both teams have now finally pulled the trigger, though it was much better that the Kings waited for summer.
“(Toronto GM) Dave Nonis was very aggressive as soon as the lockout ended,” Lombardi told reporters, via the Los Angeles Newspaper Group. “We talked a number of times. I didn’t feel good about the timing of it because of the lockout. … He was clearly instrumental in helping us get to the playoffs. We were talking about this deal eight months ago. I’m glad I didn’t move Jonathan Bernier at the time.”
Now Bernier returns to his native Canada and has a chance to help guide a rising Maples Leafs squad back to prominence.