Years with Leafs: 1
Jonathan Bernier went from being traded from the Los Angeles Kings to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a move that many deemed unnecessary to being one of the more reliable Leafs to hit the ice last season. For a team that was heavily out-shot through a season that saw them regress and miss the playoffs, Bernier stayed pretty steady throughout the year. Bernier posted a very nice .922 save percentage and a 2.70 goals-against average to go along with 26 wins. James Reimer‘s future is still up in the air despite signing a two-year contract extension, as he voiced his displeasure with the lack of starts. But it wasn’t because the higher-ups were drooling over their acquisition of Bernier, it was because Bernier was the better option to go with for the Leafs.
What I see in 2014-15 is probably the same if not a slight regression. The Leafs did not help their defense in the offseason by adding Roman Polak and getting rid of quiet but reliable defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and I still think Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly will be amazing for the Leafs, but they struggled in their own end at times last year and I could see that continuing when the season begins in October.
The Leafs should expect to once again have a reliable tandem in net, something they have not had in a long time. But when it comes to guessing who the starter would be, I would think Bernier will get the nod. It was shown last year that management believes that Bernier is their number-one guy after he and Reimer battled for it last year.
Bug Question: Will Jonathan Bernier put up the same numbers as last year?
No, I don’t think he will, but that does not mean he will regress to the point of mediocrity. The defense for the Leafs will be dreadful even with Jake Gardiner’s re-signing. Trading for Roman Polak was a questionable move considering Carl Gunnarsson was so solid in his own zone. But with all that said, Jonathan Bernier should have another solid year in net for a basement-dwelling Leafs team.