We’ve covered two of the goalies, so why not the third? It’s hard not to feel for Erik Ersberg a bit. He really hasn’t done anything wrong during his three seasons with the Kings, and in fact, at times he has been quite good. Yet the consensus seems to be that Ersberg is about to lose his spot on the roster to talented rookie Jonathan Bernier.
Terry Murray has essentially declared open a two-man competition between Ersberg and Bernier. Ersberg came ready to play today, with a handful of strong saves in practice. No doubt, Ersberg knows that his NHL life might be on the line in the next three weeks.
“Obviously there has been a lot of talk about this and that, and what’s going to happen, but everything is out of my control,” Ersberg said. “I’m just trying to do my thing and be as good as possible, and whatever happens… If I do the best I can, it’s going to be good for me, no matter what happens. It’s better than coming in thinking, `What’s he doing over there? What’s he doing over there?’ I’m just going to do my thing and see what happens.”
Ersberg spent the entire 2009-10 season with the Kings, even if it’s not obvious from the numbers. Ersberg appeared in only 11 games last season and often went weeks between appearances.
To his credit, Ersberg never publicly complained. After the season, Murray acknowledged that he might have played Quick too much — Quick appeared in 72 games — and might not have shown enough trust in Ersberg, who finished with a 2.40 goals-against average.
“We had a good conversation about the year,” Ersberg said. “I laid out what I thought about things, and he said how he looked at things. So we got a little better understanding of each other’s point of view. I think it was a good meeting. We ventilated a little bit. It’s what you do after a season. If you’ve got something on your mind, you need to say it. I think it was a good meeting.”
And what will happen at the end of camp, if Bernier beats out Ersberg? It’s tough to say. It’s highly unlikely that Ersberg, 28, would end up in the AHL, but the trade/free-agent market for goalies has also been quite slow. It’s possible that Ersberg might return to Europe, where he played three seasons in Sweden, but Ersberg said he hadn’t given much thought to what would happen if he lost out to Bernier.
“Not too much, to be honest,” Ersberg said. “I played here the last couple years, and I’m going to do everything I can to be here this year. If not, then I’ll just have to see what happens and just play it by ear. I don’t want to think too far ahead.”
No matter what, Ersberg, who maintains a calm, easy-going attitude even in the most stressful of times, doesn’t figure to get rattled.
“It’s kind of nice,” Ersberg said. “I don’t have to make any decisions. I just have to play hockey, so that’s always nice.”