Jonathan Bernier is back, and nobody is celebrating.
Bernier recently finished up a “conditioning stint” (with a heavy emphasis on those quotation marks) with the Toronto Marlies – one that started off very, very, very well before ending very badly. In his return to NHL action, Bernier got lit up for five goals on 27 shots in a 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
We know that Bernier has been at least a league average goaltender in the past, but he certainly hasn’t played like one recently. Most people would assume that he will return to form, but there’s always the possibility that Bernier has in fact lost his touch and won’t be able to regain it.
This might be what Jonathan Bernier is now, and that’s not an NHL goaltender.
Like many expected, this is turning into a throwaway season for the Toronto Maple Leafs anyways. It’s not like Bernier’s bad play is costing them an opportunity at a Stanley Cup, or even a playoff spot. Hell, if anything, it’s helping the Leafs get closer and closer to that top draft pick. That said, it’s time to make a short-term decision on Bernier and how he’s deployed this season. Not long from now, it’ll be time to make a decision on his future in Toronto as well.
So the question is, what do you do with Bernier? If you were in charge of goaltending decisions, could he play for your team? Is he going to just ride the pine the rest of the year? Are you more inclined to just trade him and get him out of town? We aren’t actually considering buying out the last year of his deal, are we?
Let us know in the comments below.