| Jonathan Bernier, for real this time

Finally, the NHL is almost ready to call upon Jonathan Bernier.  For real this time and he’s ready.

The Kings drafted the 6-0, 185 lb goaltender 11th overall in 2006 and expected that he would be the man between the pipes for the Kings for many years to come.  While fellow highly regarded prospects Carey Price and Steve Mason have made an impact in the NHL things haven’t gone quite as smoothly for Bernier.

2008-09 proved to be a learning experience for the goaltender who saw things come so easily for him as a junior goaltender with the QMJHL’s Lewiston MAINEiacs.  Posting respectable numbers (2.40 GAA, .914 SV%) with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, Bernier was solid but unspectacular and also somewhat inconsistent.

But the goalie with the hybrid stand-up/butterfly style has certainly turned a corner in 2009-10.  Bernier has been electric with the Monarchs this season, posting a 17-10-4 record, 2.05 GAA, and .938 SV%.   He’s been a brick wall, stealing games and posting shutouts (he has 4 this year so far).

It is clear that Bernier is as close to NHL-ready as an AHL goalie can be. Unfortunately for him, while he was grooming himself in the minors for the past year and a half, Jonathan Quick has emerged as a legitimate tender in L.A., and Erik Ersberg is dependable in a role as backup.  Quick is under contract for another 3 seasons, while Ersberg has 1 more year left on his deal.

Eventually the Kings will have to make room for Bernier.  While Quick has been solid, he’s no Martin Brodeur, Ryan Miller, or Roberto Luongo.  Bernier has that type of upside and so he brings the real possibility that he could improve the Kings team if given the chance.

If Jonathan Bernier keeps this up the Kings will have no choice but to make room for him on their NHL roster.

via | Bernier, Him, Kings, Nhl, Mason.


  9 comments for “ | Jonathan Bernier, for real this time

  1. Sam
    January 18, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    I agree with basically everything except the bits on Price and Mason. Both had good single years but have sputtered since. Halak even seems to be taking hold in Montreal over Price to some. Mason was sensational last year for sure but Theodore was amazing for a season before becoming mediocre, at best. I personally think the Kings made the best choice having Bernier play in the AHL. But I do agree, Bernier needs to see Staples soon. I do not think its because Quick can’t become a great goaltender but more because I think Bernier may be too good for the AHL.

  2. roadtripper
    January 18, 2010 at 11:18 AM

    My only fear would be if Quick continues to play well (and there’s no reason he shouldn’t) and we bring Bernier up and make him the man (assuming he’s earned it in camp or whatever) will JQ be happy being a backup after his success, or will he ask to be traded to a team where he can remain a #1? Then what if Bernier has say one good year and then turns so-so? Then again how will JQ react to having a legitimate threat to his job? A Bernier/Quick combo sounds really nice, so long as both are okay with the sharing of duties.

    I understand coaches playing a bit of competitive head-games with goalies to try and bring out their best, but I’m not so sure it works long-term, and you can very easily mess with a kid too much until he just wants out…

    I agree that to date we’ve handled him (Bernier) well…

    LOL it’s hard to imagine the Kings FINALLY getting two top goalies let alone one…


  3. January 18, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    Barring injury or an unlikely meltdown by Quick, there’s no way that Bernier will be brought up this season. The plan is for him to get as much playing time as possible and carry the Monarchs as far as they can go into the playoffs.

    (Next year will be a different story. Anticipating the competition between Quick and Bernier is already making my mouth water.)

    I agree about Price and Mason. I’m sure it was tough for Bernier to watch them go to the NHL so soon. Based on their junior and/or AHL performances, they deserved the opportunity. But yeah, when you talk about consistency and upside, only time will tell.

    Another point: I naturally hope that Quick proves this writer wrong in his assessment that JQ is no Brodeur/Miller/Luongo.

    Anyway, as long as Quick is getting the job done, I’m OK with them grooming Bernier as much as they feel they need to. Lombardi, Hextall and Ranford have all referred to JB as “gold”, and I trust their judgement. And as long as Lombardi is in charge, I’m confident that high-quality goaltending will be the backbone of this organization for years to come.

    • quisp
      January 18, 2010 at 1:37 PM

      Yes, but/and what has happened to both Price and Mason since their arrival in the NHL is exactly why Lombardi has been so cautious and patient with Bernier.

    • quisp
      January 18, 2010 at 1:40 PM

      Well, “no way” is a little strong. An injury to either EE or JQ will bring Bernier up immediately, and if it’s JQ, Bernier is the starter. So that’s hardly a remote possibility. I certainly hope Quick keeps it up. Also, when Manchester’s season is over, Bernier will be available to join the Kings, assuming (!) the Kings are still alive. They will be able to carry three goalies at that point, so at least he will get practice time, etc..

  4. DougS
    January 18, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    To me, the bottom line is that it’s a good problem for the Kings to have, both Quick and apparently Bernier panning out like this. So I’m not overly worried about how one or the other will react. I think both are getting good enough press now so that if one has to be dealt a couple of seasons down the road, the Kings will get good value in return.

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