The Avalanche have held discussions with Pat Brisson, the agent for goaltender Jonathan Bernier, regarding a contract extension for the netminder, reports BSN Denver’s Adrian Dater. He’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next month.
The 29-year-old just completed his first season in Colorado where he split the net with veteran Semyon Varlamov. He played in 37 games, posting a 19-13-3 record with a 2.85 GAA and a .913 SV%. He had an opportunity to take on the starting job in the playoffs with Varlamov being injured but he wound getting hurt himself, suffering a lower-body injury in Game Four of their first round series against Nashville.
Bernier made $2.75MM this past season and should be in line to receive a similar amount on his next deal. Backup goaltenders who can handle a larger workload have seen their value increase around the league in recent years as teams put more emphasis on keeping their starters fresh. There are a couple of teams that could view him as a potential starter (or a 1B goalie) as well in the Sabres and Islanders and Dater notes that Bernier would prefer to go to a situation where he can be the number one. However, Varlamov is set to enter the final year of his contract so the starting job with the Avs could be available as soon as a year from now if he’s willing to be patient.
However, Colorado already has someone who has their eyes on being the backup next season in Pavel Francouz, who signed a one-year, one-way contract last month. He is, however, waiver-exempt so he could be sent to the minors as insurance if they do reach an agreement with Bernier,
Meanwhile, Dater reports that there have been no talks regarding a new deal for pending UFA winger Blake Comeau. The 32-year-old finished seventh on the team in scoring with 34 points in 79 games but GM Joe Sakic is on record saying that Colorado could wind up getting even younger in 2018-19 which may make Comeau too old to keep around.