Goaltender Jonathan Bernier was surprised to learn he had been traded but was quite pleased to learn of the deal, he told reporters on a conference call on Friday. As Eric Stephens of the OC Register writes, the fact that the Ducks decided to pass on many of the other backup goalies that went elsewhere in free agency is a sign that they think Bernier is a class above them.
Bernier has played in at least 38 games in each of the last three seasons which would be of particular interest to them given that their starting netminder, John Gibson, has a career high of just 40 games in a single NHL campaign. The fact that Bernier can handle closer to a starters workload would certainly have been appealing to Ducks GM Bob Murray.
With Anaheim, Bernier will be reunited with his first head coach with the Leafs, Randy Carlyle. Interestingly enough, the 27 year old played his best hockey with Toronto under Carlyle, posting a 2.70 GAA and a .922 SV% in 55 games in 2013-14. The Ducks undoubtedly are hoping the change of scenery and former bench boss will help Bernier reignite his game.
More from the Pacific Division:
- Flames RFA winger Johnny Gaudreau provided a brief update on his contract talks in an interview with SportsRadio 914WIP on Friday, transcribed by Darren Haynes on his From 80 Feet Above blog. Gaudreau classified talks as “inching along” and noted that Calgary’s GM Brad Treliving had been busy with the World Championships, the draft, and free agency. He anticipates that talks should pick up as the summer progresses. There is no real rush or risk for either side here as Gaudreau is ineligible for arbitration, nor can he receive an offer sheet as he doesn’t have the required amount of pro years of experience to be eligible for one. In 2015-16, Gaudreau posted 30 goals and 48 assists in 79 games, good for a tie for sixth overall in league scoring.
- While many anticipate Edmonton winger Nail Yakupov will eventually be moved this offseason, David Staples of the Edmonton Journal argues that the former first overall pick should receive one more chance before the Oilers move him. Yakupov’s practice habits were called into question last season which is partly to blame for his career low 23 points in 60 games last season but he also spent a third of his ice time alongside Mark Letestu, who is more of a fourth liner than a third liner at this stage of his career. Staples suggests that the spurts of strong offensive production could become more common if he can find the right centre to play with and that the Oilers may as well try to make it work with him since they haven’t found a taker for him yet.