By Howard Berger | BergerBytes.ca
Jonathan Bernier represents a viable; somewhat tantalizing and perhaps lone alternative for the Maple Leafs. Drafted 11th overall by Los Angeles in 2006, Bernier wasn’t able to answer the Kings prolonged quest for stability between the pipes and his early professional years were spent with Manchester of the AHL. He was the second goalie named Jonathan to be drafted by the Kings in consecutive years.
Barring injury, the original Jonathan will continue to play 70 games a season for Darryl Sutter, prompting the 2006 version to seek a change of address. Toronto could well be his new home. With only 48 games NHL experience, Bernier is a practical unknown, but that should not inevitably consign him to the goaltending scrap-heap. In fact, there are equal parts to such a designation – one of which conveys unfulfilled promise. He would hardly be the first of his kind to gain traction upon release by an original club; at the risk of a wildly premature correlation, a fellow named Dominik Hasek began to flourish only after Chicago traded him to Buffalo in 1992.