Leafs Edge Flyers in Bernier SweepstakesBREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL Sunday, June 23rd, 2013
The Leafs sent the Los Angeles Kings 25 year-old right winger Matt Frattin (depth player), 26 year-old back-up goaltender Ben Scrivens, and a 2nd round draft pick (to be used in either 2014 or 2015, by choice of the Leafs). The Leafs also offered to retain $500K of salary cap space in the trade to sweeten the pot.
It’s an interesting trade for Toronto, as they didn’t give up much to get him. Frattin and Scrivens were expendable and the 2nd round pick will be delayed to a later draft.
The question many are asking is “Why?”
James Reimer, their starting goaltender this season, has played more games at the NHL level at this point in his career than Bernier. He’s also put up a better career save percentage than Bernier in his budding career (0.915 vs. 0.912), though Bernier has him beat in goals-against-average (2.36 vs. 2.71).
Reimer will be a restricted free agent next season, so Toronto will likely have to make a decision on one goaltender or the other in 2014. It’s a great problem to have, though, and gives them an excellent tandem to work with for the 2013-14 NHL season.
The Flyers coveted Bernier, but elected not to overpay for Bernier. The price has not been confirmed, but it is believed that the Flyers offered the Kings Matt Read and a 3rd round pick.
That is exactly the cost I had told others I’d be unwilling to move on if I were Paul Holmgren, and I’m glad he stuck to his guns. Bernier has excellent potential, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere for how far the organization is willing to go to deplete its already meager farm system for an unproven goaltender.
I do believe that Read should be moved at some point. Whether it is during the offseason or right before the 2014 trade deadline is irrelevant. It is unlikely that the Flyers will be able to afford Read along with extensions to Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn. If they can move him for a valuable young defenseman, now would be a good time to do so.
The sweepstakes may be over, but pay close attention to the Maple Leaf’s tandem next season. One of Bernier or Reimer will be on the block again, and the Flyers may have another opportunity to acquire a more viable, young, long-term goaltender than Ilya Bryzgalov at that time.
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