Anatomy Of A Jonathan Bernier Trade

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Jonathan Bernier could be a major part of Toronto’s rebuild, or he could be another victim of it.

Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

What Is A Goalie Worth?

This is probably the most opinion based part of any Bernier trade speculation, as goalies, despite being key to any competitive team, often have very little trade value.

Lets look at some recent goalie trades and try to establish what the “market value” would be for a borderline elite number one goalie with consistency issues.

The first three trades were all for borderline number one NHL goaltenders who were either unproven (Bishop) or had consistency issues (Dubnyk), and as such all three got almost identical returns: 3rd round picks. Now Jonathan Bernier is a much better goaltender than all three of these players were at the time that they were traded (Dubynk is obviously on fire now and Bishop is a borderline top 5 goalie).

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As such we are realistically looking at a return similar to one of the last three trades. Bernier is at a very similar point in his career as Cory Schneider was when he was moved to New Jersey, so a high 1st round pick is definitely possible. Bernier doesn’t have the albatross contract that Luongo did in his move to Florida, as he is an RFA and the team trading for him would have complete control over the negotiations.

However, Bernier is currently plagued by the consistency issues that spelled the end of Luongo’s tenure in Vancouver. Getting a younger blue chip goaltending prospect and a young roster player in return for Bernier is a good start, but due to the lack on albatross contract and younger age, Bernier would command more than solid 3rd line workhorse Shawn Matthias.

The most interesting comparable trade is definitely Luongo’s move to Vancouver, as both goalies were around similar ages and viewed in similar light around the league for being a young potentially elite number one goaltender in the NHL. Obviously, the trade didn’t work out for Florida, but the “idea” of what they were getting in return is everything the Leafs could hope for.

Hypothetically, based on these earlier trades, let’s say the Leafs want one of the following scenarios in return for Bernier in a trade:

1) A top 10 pick in the 2015 draft

2) A late 1st round pick in the 2015 draft and a top prospect

3) A young goalie, young roster player and early pick

The Hockey News’ Rory Boylen has a really good take on goaltender’s trade value, or lack thereof due to the constant turnover of the position and stream of young backups turned sensations overnight (See: Hammond, Andrew in Ottawa for most recent example).

CBC has a good list of some of the top goalie trades in NHL history, you’ll notice how the returns are all rather small.

Next: Who Wants Him?