Leafs File for Arbitration on Bernier

Remember the whole #BabyGate onesie fiasco with Bernier’s kid yesterday? Well, turns out there was something going on.

With
Bernier being one of two big RFA deals the Leafs need to navigate this
summer – the other being Nazem Kadri – this is a bold move by the Leafs that could pay off.
Clubs cannot walk away from an arbitration ruling that they have
elected to file. The only way this makes sense is if they believe that
the ruling would be less than what Bernier is asking for right now.
And
the Leafs could have a point – Bernier’s
camp is probably using Cory Schneider, Ben Bishop, and Corey Crawford as comparables,
while the Leafs should push for more of a Steve Mason-type deal. They
likely will meet in the middle around the $5-$5.5 million per mark,
which isn’t terrible. That said, paying for goaltending – unless the
goalie is very elite – isn’t a great idea.

Update: Also worth nothing, as per several people on Twitter, this still leaves Bernier vulnerable to an offer sheet, and the Leafs can trade Bernier before the arbitrator’s decision.

Arbitration
cases rarely make it to the actual hearing. Fully expect this contract
to get resolved before late July, when hearings are typically held.
Another interesting note:

Last year saw three clubs file for arbitration, the biggest of which was the Avalanche on Ryan O’Reilly. Hopefully this negotiation doesn’t get as ugly as that one did for the Avs.
  • Douglas

    I don’t see the need for giving Bernier a contract, he is replaceable and we can use the return to build, let Reimer get his confidence and let him roll. Possibly 5 million for someone who is not proven better than the much cheaper Reimer. We need to build the young guys up and not get stuck with a Bernier contract which we will end up stuck with or retaining.