By Pierre LeBrun • ESPN.com •
The Los Angeles Kings are winless in three games to open the season (0-2-1) and while I would suggest the performance of the top six forwards is the biggest reason for the slow start, you can’t discount the injuries on the blue line.
You just don’t replace Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene in the lineup that easily, not in the dressing room either, for that matter.
Mitchell is on the mend and hopefully should be back fairly soon, although it’s not entirely clear when. And even when he does return, you have to assume he’ll need time before he’s his normal self.
And Greene is out long term, leaving the Kings scouring the trade market looking for blue-line help. I believe Kings GM Dean Lombardi might be willing to do what he wasn’t a month ago: move young netminder Jonathan Bernier if it means getting a top-four blueliner in return.
Easier said than done. Every team in the league seems to be looking for ways to add defense, not shed some. And the Kings are really high on Bernier; they view him as a franchise goalie in the making, so they’re not moving him unless they get what they want.
All of which makes things intriguing with word that Toronto came calling over the past month kicking the tires on Bernier. Could Toronto offer up the defenseman the Kings need? Hard to say. But the Leafs are one of the few teams in the league with real depth on defense, nine NHL blueliners at the ready right now.