Jonathan Bernier pick conditions are high risk, high reward

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Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY SPORTS

This morning, Sportsnet hockey insider Chris Johnston revealed the conditions of the trade that sent Jonathan Bernier to the Anaheim Ducks on July 8th. Most didn’t expect the Leafs to get a heck of a lot for the struggling 27-year-old, but the exact stipulations are certainly less than typical. In fact, it’s extremely likely that the Leafs walk away with nothing.

Here’s how it breaks down, in accordance to the report.

Toronto gets a second round pick if…

  • Jonathan Bernier steals the starter’s job from Jonathan Gibson come playoff time, starts in at least half the games, and the Ducks win the Stanley Cup this season.
  • The Ducks decide to trade Bernier, he steals the starter’s job at the new team come playoff time, starts in at least off of their games, and that team wins the Stanley Cup.

Toronto gets a third round pick if…

  • Both of the above scenarios, but with the Ducks or Mystery Team C winning their conference but losing the in the Stanley Cup Final.

Toronto gets nothing if…

  • Literally anything else happens.

Don’t expect much

If we’re being honest with ourselves, the Ducks haven’t improved enough this offseason to believe that they are favourites to win the Western Conference this year, even with the randomness that is the playoffs. I say that without the consideration of a coaching switch, and going from Bruce Boudreau to Randy Carlyle doesn’t exactly make me feel more confident in the team.

Even if they were a team that we could expect to do some damage, Bernier is going to be hard pressed to steal the job from John Gibson, who has a 0.920 save percentage in his first 66 NHL games. At 23 years old, there’s no expectation that his play will slow down anytime soon either; Bernier at his best would likely still have to cross his fingers for an injury.

As it stands right now, the Leafs’ best hope for a pick is if the Ducks flame out under Carlyle, Pekka Rinne has another down year in Nashville, and they acquire Bernier as a stop gap. But those are a lot of ifs to get to playoff ifs.

If nothing else, this confirms that the trade was a cap dump and extension of the Frederik Andersen deal in the most obvious ways. We should’ve realized this when Lou Lamoriello referred to the return as “future considerations” rather than a conditional pick.

In fact, you almost hope the Leafs don’t get a pick in return. Yes, assets are assets, but if Bernier is good enough to be the starting goaltender for a Stanley Cup Finalist this season, then giving up himself, a first, and a second round pick to hand the keys to Frederik Andersen doesn’t look very wise.

At the end of the day, I wouldn’t expect the Leafs to get anything back, and I doubt they do either. But hey, if they turn out to have completely misvalued their goaltending depth, at least they’ll get to take another crack at the draft pool as a consolation.

  • Trevor5555

    This trade gets better and better. The leafs got a vezina quality goalie in andersen and also have a chance at getting a 2nd round pick. This is exactly the kind of trade Nonis is incapable of executing.

  • Trevor5555

    There is no risk. Bernier essentially should have been included in the first trade. Except the leafs were unable to retain the salary, therefor we waited to pay the bonus (or 50% Salary) and dealt him.

    to make the trade “legit” something had to come back our way.

    However the likelihood of us getting paid is probably the same odds as Robidas returning to the line up.

  • Trevor5555

    so he was given away for nothing. even phaneuf’s awful contract got us more lmao. nice to have that extra cap space. if we could only get rid of lupul and bozak, that would be even better.