The New Jersey Devils have signed Jonathan Bernier to a two-year contract according to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic tweets that the contract will carry an average annual value of $4.125MM. Bernier’s rights were recently traded from the Detroit Red Wings to the Carolina Hurricanes, but decided to test the market instead of signing with his new team. He’ll now land in New Jersey where he can be a veteran partner for young Mackenzie Blackwood.
It is an interesting move for New Jersey, who gave Bernier the fourth-highest AAV of the day among goaltenders behind younger keepers Philipp Grubauer and Linus Ullmark as well as Frederik Andersen, all of whom will be asked to take on starting roles whereas Bernier will be, at best, splitting time with young cornerstone Mackenzie Blackwood. Blackwood himself is also making just $2.8MM over the next two years, well below Bernier. While the Devils do not have cap problems, they also don’t seem like a team that needed to spend a lot of money for another goaltender, especially when other veteran options went for less.
Yet, financial details aside, Bernier is an experienced, accomplished goaltender who should serve as a good mentor to Blackwood, what the Devils were hoping for out of Corey Crawford last off-season. Bernier is also coming off of a solid season in Detroit in which he managed a .914 save percentage and 2.99 GAA despite playing in front of a porous team defense.