While the Red Wings didn’t have a lot of success on the ice this season, it was a decent year for goaltender Jonathan Bernier. He took over the number one role from Jimmy Howard while his 2.95 GAA and .907 SV% were respectable marks for a team that struggled as much as Detroit did. The 31-year-old still has one more year left on his contract with a $3MM cap hit but he is already thinking ahead, telling Dana Gauruder of the Detroit Free Press that he’s hoping to play until he’s around 38-40 years old and would love to finish his career with the team. GM Steve Yzerman will likely have to look to free agency to find Bernier’s partner for next season and if he signs a proven number one, their willingness to keep a higher-end second option in the fold may be limited. However, if they go with another Bernier-type netminder with a goal of having a platoon, then the potential for him sticking around would go up considerably.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference:
- Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour could be a casualty of Buffalo’s recent front office changes, suggests Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News. He was brought in by now-former GM Jason Botterill but he didn’t seem to mesh with head coach Ralph Krueger who only played him 19:30 per night this year, his lowest full-season ATOI of his career. The pending restricted free agent struggled this season offensively as well with just 18 points in 54 games and with the person who acquired him now gone, it’s certainly reasonable to think that he’ll be a trade candidate this offseason.
- Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom skated with a handful of teammates on Tuesday for the first time since being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma a little more than six months ago, notes Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer. While he won’t play for them in this postseason, it’s still great news that he’s back on his skates and doing well in his recovery.
- The Lightning have reopened their practice facilities, reports team reporter Bryan Burns (Twitter link). They closed down on Friday following three players and two staff members testing positive for COVID-19. Players can now skate in groups of 12 as they work their way towards the third phase of the NHL’s return plan which is training camps that are slated to open July 10th.