Player evaluation: Bernier
This season: 25 games, 11-8-3 record, 2.48 goals-against average, .913 save percentage.
The good: Whatever Bernier did during the All-Star break, it worked. In 14 games before the break, Bernier had a 3.08 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage. In 11 games after the break, Bernier had a 1.70 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage and did not lose in regulation. From February on, Bernier looked poised and confident and looked very much like the player who won AHL goalie of the year honors in 2009-10. Even when he went long stretches without playing, Bernier remained sharp. Perhaps most importantly, he didn’t pout, he maintained a good attitude and said all the right things even as Jonathan Quick got 11 of the 12 starts down the stretch.
The bad: Bernier still needs to prove that he can put together a full season in the NHL. The same thing happened with him in the AHL. Bernier was inconsistent in his first season with Manchester, then was outstanding in his second season. Bernier needs a strong start next season in order to earn increased confidence from Terry Murray.
Going forward: Bernier and Quick are both under contract for two more seasons at great values to the team — Quick makes $1.8 million, Bernier makes $1.25 million — so there’s nothing wrong with keeping them as a 1-2 punch for next season. What happens, though, if the Kings can make a trade for a big-time scorer in his prime? Would they pull the trigger and include Bernier in a trade? Coaches and scouts rave about Bernier and his talent, but both goalies aren’t staying in Los Angeles forever. Is now the time to move one, and upgrade at another position?