The Leafs shuffled some paper today and placed Jonathan Bernier on the Injured Reserve retroactive to November 1st.
Jonathan Bernier has been placed on injury reserve retroactive to last Saturday which is a minimum of 7 to 10 days. #TMLtalk
— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) November 5, 2015
With all due respect to Henny, the minimum is actually seven days, as determined by the fact that it’s the lower number, and it would mean that the earliest possible date for Bernier to return is for the November 10th game in Dallas.
The Leafs have two games between now and then, and conventional wisdom would say that you give both starts to James Reimer, as he’s the only goaltender the Leafs have with NHL experience, of course that’s complicated by the fact that the games are on back to back nights this Friday and Saturday, and statistically speaking that doesn’t bode well for teams wanting a chance to win on that second night.
The options that will leaves Toronto with are:
- Give Bibeau one of the starts, either against Detroit or Washington, which ever one you think would be less horrific for him
- Recall Sparks if you think that he’s potentially the better option to for the Leafs if you think that he’s the more NHL ready of the two AHL goaltenders
- Defy math, and realize that if James Reimer wants to show that he’s a capable NHL number 1, he’ll have to do this from time to time.
So far we haven’t heard any timelines for Bernier’s return, but since the lower body injury was initially labelled as day to day it’s likely that we’ll see Jonathan back with the Leafs at some point next week.
Over the summer Cat Silverman touched on Bernier’s injury woes, and how his butterfly style keeps him from being a starter you can count on to carry the load for the Leafs…
“There’s a reason Bernier hasn’t started in sixty games yet — he’s a hybrid butterfly goalie, but tends to revert to butterfly when he’s pressed by the opposition. Like most butterfly netminders, he’s gotten hurt a lot as a result — and as he gets older, that’s only going to become more of a problem.”
With Reimer looking solid in his last two outings and Bernier having the shakiest of Octobers, this isn’t a crippling blow for the Leafs, and in fact is a worthwhile opportunity. The concern is that Reimer also has a fairly injury plagued past and the Leafs goaltending depth is concerning at the best of times.