Saturday, June 15, 2013

Isles Chances At Bernier

Photo courtesy of
Islanders fans, including myself have agreed that the goaltending situation is to be the biggest mystery this coming offseason. There's no secret that many Isles fans would love to get their hands on Jonathan Bernier, the Los Angeles Kings backup goaltender who could be a starter for any team in the NHL right now. But the Islanders would are not the only ones that want Bernier. According to Pierre LeBrun, ESPN and TSN analyst had this to say about Bernier's trade status:

Jonathan Bernier will finally escape Jonathan Quick's shadow in L.A. A source told Friday that the Los Angeles Kings have spoken with about 10 clubs about Bernier’s availability. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s traded before or at the draft.
 I can probably help with some of the teams to be in the hunt: The Flyers, Flames, Wild, Oilers, Avalanche & Coyotes all teams with current goaltending situations. The rest remain to be seen and the Islanders have not been mentioned, ever, in any kind of deal or talks that any of us know of about Bernier.

So what would it take to get Bernier? To be honest I don't know, possibly a goalie in return, not named DiPietro; possibly someone like Niederreiter who would be a decent replacement for the soon departed Justin Penner on LW for the Kings. Draft pick swaps, who knows. Could it be possible? Sure. Is it likely? I'll go out on a limb and say no.  Why not? Because there's no need to yet. First off, despite some setbacks, Kevin Poulin is ready for the NHL, as a backup. How far away is he from a starting role remains to be seen, but it must be seen this year. He should get at least 20 starts this coming year.

What worries me is that Bernier has played in 43 (13 in Germany) games the last two seasons. If the Islanders want to continue a playoff push, then making a trade for Bernier is risky. Tampa Bay learned that lesson when they acquired Anders Lindback from the Nashville Predators. A backup to start in Nashville, only to end up being a backup to Ben Bishop in Tampa. Could the same happen to Bernier? Yes, that's why it's risky trading a prospect like Niederreitter away so soon. Kevin Poulin has played in 92 games, granted mostly in the AHL, but there should not be any rust and should something happen to the starter, asking Poulin to play in 35+ games this coming season is not as risky.

Then you still have Arthur Staple from Newsday:


So, having written all this, unless something drastic happens during the negotiations with Nabokov, Isles fans should expect to see the three mainstays of this organization in camp. Nabokov, if healthy should be good for 55 games and the rest to Poulin. There's still consistency and a good vibe with these two in net, Isles should make the playoffs. If fans still want another reason why the Isles may not get Bernier? I'll give you two: One, a better deal from another desperate team taking a risk on a backup; Two, the Islanders have more confidence in the idea of Poulin playing a solid amount of games and helping this team win without sacrificing any future prospects is what the Isles probably have been planning all along. Plan the work, work the plan. The Islanders are working their plan, Bernier just might not be in it. If LeBrun is right, in two weeks we'll find out.

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