Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS
The Ducks giveth, and the Ducks taketh away. Just weeks after the Leafs acquired new starting goaltender Frederik Andersen from Anaheim, they’ve moved former starting goaltender Jonathan Bernier to the Orange County team in exchange for a conditional draft pick.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 8, 2016
Some might wonder why Bernier wasn’t included in the original trade for Andersen, which occurred on June 20th. It’s very likely that the reason involves his contract. Bernier was due a $2,000,000 signing bonus on July 1st, and by waiting a couple of weeks, the Ducks get to take him on for half of his actual dollar cost.
We had Anaheim on our list of teams that seemed to fit the bill most in relation to that salary tidbit, thanks to their abundance of cap space and lack of backup for Jonathan Gibson. The departures of Andersen and Anton Khuodobin left the team with a noticeable void, and now they have Bernier to fill it.
While Bernier struggled heavily in the first half of last season, he’s a slightly above league average goaltender by save percentage over the rest of his career. He was also a 0.920 goaltender in Calendar Year 2016, giving more reason to believe he’s due for a bounce back. However, with $5 million tied into Andersen’s contract, it didn’t make much sense to leave the Laval native in the balance.
There is no word yet on what the conditions of the deal are, but I’d have to imagine they’re based on games played and team success. As well, this leaves the Leafs with $3.56 million in pre-LTIR room to work with for the rest of the offseason, with contracts due to Peter Holland, Martin Marincin, Frank Corrado, Josh Leivo, Connor Carrick, and projected backup goaltender Garret Sparks.
Bernier, who turns 28 next month, was 59-68-17 in his 151 game career with the Leafs. He had a 0.915 save percentage and six shutouts.