Kevin SchultzThe Islanders may not be content to sit tight with some combination of Evgeni Nabokov, Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson in goal next year — and they shouldn’t be. According to Newsday, the Islanders are “in the mix” for Los Angeles Kings goalie Jon Bernier. According to TSN, the Kings have been actively shopping Bernier around the NHL for the past week or so.
Bernier, 24, played 14 games for the Kings this season with a 1.87 GAA and .922 save percentage. Both of those marks were better than LA’s starter, Jon Quick, although obviously sample size is a serious factor. In the Kings’ 18-game playoff run, Quick started every game and is clearly the favorite in Los Angeles. Bernier has been a King since the team selected him 11th overall in 2006. He has only started 54 games since then with a career .912 save percentage; not an overly impressive career mark despite the impressive quarter season.
With such strong faith in Quick, the Kings are likely to move the RFA-to-be Bernier this summer (and now we can officially commence Draft Trade Rumor Season). Newsday writes that the “Kings are only seeking prospects or young players in return.” That could mean the Islanders first round pick, Nino Niederreiter, or others.
The Islanders could use a goaltender and at 24 years old Bernier could be potential option for the Islanders for a number or years. The trick is that goaltenders can be inconsistent and Bernier has very limited NHL experience, making it a gamble to ship multiple picks and/or prospects west for an unproven entity. It’s one of those things that can turn a GM into a genius or a dunce, depending on how it shakes out.
The Islanders also coveted Brandon Saad, a young NHL up-and-comer who is now playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, at the trade deadline. That proved to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Is it different this time around?