Jonathan Bernier asked for a trade from the Los Angeles Kings back in the summer of 2012. You might recall a story we wrote on why Bernier deserves a new opportunity and a chance to prove himself in the NHL. Trapped behind Jonathan Quick, Bernier has never had more than a part-time role in the NHL.
Bernier may finally get his opportunity almost exactly one year later. It's reported that the Kings have spoken with 10 teams about Bernier. More recently, Bernier fired his agent. These two stories combined with the fact Bernier is set to be a restricted free agent should signal a new opportunity is on the horizon.
You've got to feel for Bernier. Stuck behind an elite netminder such as Quick, he never suited up for more than 22 starts in a season. Any notion of Bernier seeing regular work was nixed by the fact the Kings locked up Quick with a huge contract extension which will keep him in the mix through the 2022-23 season.
There should be plenty of interest in Bernier. If the report above is factual, as many as 10 teams might want Bernier's services. If you stop and think about the goaltending situations for every NHL club, this number might actually be a bit higher. What club wouldn't want a young goaltender that has shown glimpses of huge potential in their ranks?
Bernier's time with the Kings coming to an end isn't a surprise. The situation has always been a matter of when, not if. The real question concerns whether the Kings handled this situation as well as they could have. Is Bernier's value higher now than it was in 2012? That point is debatable, but either way the Kings should get a decent return for their restricted free agent and Bernier should finally land a job that nets more playing time.
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