|You could say the Bernier rumors are beginning to warm up.|
Today, Islanders fans received the news they had been waiting to hear. According to Arthur Staple of Newsday, the New York Islanders are "in the mix" for the current Los Angeles Kings back-up goaltender Jonathan Bernier.
Before we all plan the parade, which some are already doing , please remember that there is no guarantee that Garth Snow will complete a deal for Bernier (approximately ten teams are in the running). Garth will do his due diligence, definitely, but why wouldn't he? Truth is, Jonathan Bernier, a young goalie in need of a chance to start games, and the New York Islanders, a team in need of a goalie that can take charge of the rebuild, are a match made-in-heaven.
Let me make it clear, though. If Los Angeles is asking for the farm, the Islanders should move on.
I'm a huge advocate for adding Jonathan Bernier to the mix on Long Island. A young, talented goaltender could solve so many of the Islanders' problems, and Bernier's availability sets up the rare occasion that a goalie of this description can be had. No, I don't think you should hand him the job - as I explained last week, I don't think 62 games is a large enough sample size to warrant that - but healthy competition with another starting goalie, even Nabokov, would force Bernier to earn it.
Regardless, I maintain that the Islanders must use caution when assessing the true value of a potential future backstop.
Facts are facts. Jonathan Bernier has only played 62 games at the NHL level. His stat-line (29-20-6, .912 save percentage. 2.36 GAA, 6 shutouts) over the last four seasons look promising, but is it too much to ask to, I don't know... Stop overrating it?
From the get-go, people are seemingly willing to offer the world for Bernier. Admittedly, there are some good ideas, in theory, but why so much for the unproven netminder?
In my opinion, Los Angeles has no leverage in this deal. Jonathan Quick is their starting goalie. Jonathan Bernier is set for restricted free agency on July 5th and LA is unlikely to pay top dollar to keep him; and, while some may suggest that he is, Bernier is far from a proven netminder. With all of these factors leading to Bernier's almost certain departure, how much could he really bring back in return for the Kings?
A higher-level prospect? Sure. A first round pick? Sure. Maybe a goaltending prospect too? OK, fine. All of that together is completely unnecessary, though. There is no guarantee Bernier becomes the franchise goalie that everyone wants him to be, so there's no reason to give up all of those assets in an attempt to prove it.
My deal? How about the rights to Thomas Hickey (also a restricted free agent), a conditional first round pick (if the Isles win a playoff round, they can have it, otherwise it's a second-round pick), and one of the three goaltending prospects? Of course, some will tell me it's ridiculous. Others may agree. I think it's fair value.
The Kings, obviously, could say no. They can, and most likely will, take the highest bidder. If it's not the Islanders, then the Kings were probably asking for too much, because, let's face it. The Islanders have a ton of prospects...but no matter the depth, it doesn't make the send the farm.
Shoot away, though, Isles fans. What do you think is fair value for Jonathan Bernier?
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!