The Detroit Red Wings have quite a bit of uncertainty in net going forward, with Jimmy Howard signed for just a single season and Jared Coreau leaving the organization as a Group VI unrestricted free agent. Because of that, both Craig Custance (subscription required) and Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic have heard a connection to free agent goaltender Jonathan Bernier. LeBrun goes as far as stating that Bernier is “likely” going to sign in Detroit, while Custance believes he could get a three-year deal to provide some stability in goal for the team.
Detroit traded away Petr Mrazek last season after he failed to live up to their lofty expectations, and were left with a 34-year old Howard as their only real NHL option. Though he certainly played well enough to remain with the team, there isn’t a succession plan in place any longer and the team knows they need to find an answer on the market, be that through trade or free agency. Bernier, 29, played some very good hockey for the Colorado Avalanche, going 19-13-3 with a .913 save percentage as they dealt with injuries to Semyon Varlamov. That situates him as one of the better goaltending options on the market, and one that could easily slide into a tandem with Howard next season.
Bernier has long been considered a starting-caliber goalie, though struggled at times in that role in Toronto. One of the league’s smallest netminders, he was an outstanding backup to Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles and has shown an ability to steal games at times with his quick reflexes and solid glove hand. Colorado could have retained him as a complement to Varlamov, but instead went out and acquired Philipp Grubauer to give them a potential long-term option.