After speculation that goaltender Jonathan Bernier would end up being traded to Long Island, Philadelphia or even Minnesota, the Toronto Maple Leafs have won the sweepstakes as they have just acquired the 24-year-old netminder in exchange for forward Matt Frattin, goaltender Ben Scrivens and a second-round round pick in 2014 or 2015.
In 25 games this past season, Matt Frattin registered seven goals and six assists for the Leafs in addition to a +6 rating a very impressive 62.5% in the faceoff circle. After their performance in the West Final against Chicago, someone who can win crucial faceoffs was one of Los Angeles's biggest needs and I think they have addressed that superbly in Frattin.
As for Scrivens, the Los Angeles Kings pick up a netminder with a lot of potential who can peove to be a more-than-reliable backup for Jonathan Quick. At 26, Scrivens just came off his first full season in the NHL where he played admirably behind Leafs netminder James Reimer going 7-9-0 with a 2.96 goals-against average and two shutouts. But don't let Scrivens's subpar record fool you. He did play on a Toronto team whose defensive unit was not nearly as strong as that of the Kings. Nevertheless, the addition of Scrivens should help both the Kings and the netminder personally as he goes from playing in arguably hockey's biggest (and most scrutinizing) hockey market to Los Angeles where hockey is somehat secondary. This should help Scrivens feel a bit more relaxed donning the silver-and-black.
As for the second-rounder heading to Toronto, it is up to the Maple Leafs whether they decide to use it in 2014 or 2015,
The centerpiece in this trade, though, is obviously Bernier who heads to a team which has been in need of a number-one netminder for quite some time now. While James Reimer has proven that he is capable of leading the Leafs to the postseason, management (and most fans) believed their team needed someone else.
As talented as Jonathan Bernier is, the Maple Leafs should know the risk they are taking by acquiring the 24-year-old who despite having the potential, has never really been a starter in the NHL. While Bernier does have the talent and has learned a lot over the last few years backing up Jonathan Quick, the Leafs did acquire another backup from California six years earlier with a ton of promise.
In San Jose, Vesa Toskala played admirably as backup to Evgeni Nabokov so when the Leafs acquired him in 2007, it appeared as if they turned a corner. Unfortunately for Toskala and the Leafs, that experiment didn't work out as planned and within a few years, the Finnish backstop was out of the NHL entirely.
While it isn't fair to compare Bernier to Toskala, there is good reason to be cautious as arriving to a market as unforgiving as Toronto while require any player to be mentally ready to take on the challenge of calling Canada's largest city home while having their fans adore you in the process.
In 14 games this past season, Jonathan Bernier was spectacular going 9-3-1 with a 1.88 GAA. Numbers like that would make any team salivate but now that they have the services of the Laval native, the least the Leafs can now do is add a defenseman or two whose play can help Bernier out tremendously and make his tenure in Toronto an enjoyable one.
While I am disappointed to see Jonathan Bernier, I wish him the best of luck with his new team and furthermore, I wish both Matt Frattin and Ben Scrivens the best of luck in Los Angeles.