Ducks Acquire Bernier For Conditional Draft Pick
Anaheim have acquired goaltender Jonathan Bernier from Toronto in exchange for a conditional pick at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Rumours that Bernier would be traded this summer have been circulating for some time, but the nature of this particular move seems all the more bizarre given Frederik Andersen went from Anaheim to Toronto as recently as late June.
The Maple Leafs traded a 2016 first-round pick and 2017 second-round pick to the Ducks for Andersen, quickly signing the pending restricted free agent to a five-year deal worth $25 million.
There is however some belief that Bernier may have been in play all along, with both clubs waiting for July 1 to pass, when the Maple Leafs would have paid the 27-year-olds signing bonus for the year.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 8, 2016
Selected eleventh overall by Los Angeles in 2006, Bernier has featured in 213 games for the Kings and Maple Leafs, building a 88-88-23 record with a .915 save percentage.
He enjoyed a fruitful first season in Toronto following his trade from Los Angeles during the summer of 2013, posting a .923 save percentage in 55 appearances for the Maple Leafs.
Bernier has fared less well during the past two campaigns however.
He infamously gave up a goal on the first shot he faced in both the 2014/15 and 2015/16 season openers, with Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty the scorer on both occasions, and failed to recapture the same form he had previously displayed in a Leafs jersey.
Toronto’s front office stood by the Quebec native for some time, opting to move fan favourite (and pending UFA) James Reimer before the trade deadline, but Andersen’s arrival appeared to make his position increasingly untenable with Garrett Sparks, Kasimir Kaskisuo and Antoine Bibeau also in the Maple Leafs system.
Even after paying Bernier’s signing bonus last week, Toronto now has in the region of $3.55 million in cap space as a result of the trade, which may be more valuable to them in the long run as they look to sign first overall pick Auston Matthews.
Bernier will now almost certainly act as backup to Anaheim number one John Gibson next season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2017.